Effects of intravenous infusion of 17 amino acids on the secretion of GH, glucagon, and insulin in sheep

Am J Physiol. 1991 Jan;260(1 Pt 1):E21-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1991.260.1.E21.


The effects of intravenous infusion of 17 amino acids, each at a dose of 3 mmol/kg over 30 min, on the secretion of insulin, glucagon, and growth hormone (GH) were studied in 6 castrated male sheep. Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) secretion was also studied using eight of the amino acids. Plasma alpha-amino nitrogen reached a peak at 30 min followed by a gradual decrease thereafter. The greatest increase was obtained using aspartic acid and the smallest with methionine, responses to the remaining amino acids lying between these two. Leucine was the most effective amino acid in stimulating insulin secretion but did not produce any increase in glucagon and GH secretion. Alanine, glycine, and serine induced a greater enhancement of both glucagon and insulin secretion than other amino acids. No amino acid was able to specifically stimulate glucagon secretion without also increasing insulin or GH secretion. With regard to insulin and glucagon secretion, amino acids could be divided into groups according to their R groups. Neutral straight-chain amino acids stimulated both insulin and glucagon secretion, with a greater secretory response to shorter C-chain amino acids. Branched-chain amino acids tended to enhance insulin and suppress glucagon secretion. Acidic amino acids caused an increase in GH secretion. Aspartic acid caused the strongest stimulation of GH secretion, exceeding that induced by arginine. No changes in plasma IGF-I were brought about by any of the amino acids tested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Glucagon / blood
  • Glucagon / metabolism*
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Growth Hormone / metabolism*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy
  • Sheep / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Amino Acids
  • Insulin
  • Growth Hormone
  • Glucagon