Glucagon-stimulating Activity of 20 Amino Acids in Dogs

J Clin Invest. 1972 Sep;51(9):2346-51. doi: 10.1172/JCI107046.


The effect of 20 L-amino acids upon pancreatic glucagon secretion has been studied in conscious dogs. Each amino acid was administered intravenously over a 15 min period in a dose of 1 mmole/kg of body weight to a group of four or five dogs. Pancreatic glucagon and insulin were measured by radioimmunoassay. 17 of the 20 amino acids caused a substantial increase in plasma glucagon. Asparagine had the most glucagon-stimulating activity (GSA), followed by glycine, phenylalanine, serine, aspartate, cysteine, tryptophan, alanine, glutamate, threonine, glutamine, arginine, ornithine, proline, methionine, lysine, and histidine. Only valine, leucine, and isoleucine failed to stimulate glucagon secretion, and isoleucine may have reduced it. No relationship between glucagon-stimulating activity and insulin-stimulating activity was observed. The amino acids which enter the gluconeogenic pathway as pyruvate and, which are believed to provide most of the amino acid-derived glucose, had a significantly greater GSA than the amino acids which enter as succinyl CoA or as alpha-ketoglutarate. However, pyruvate itself did not stimulate glucagon secretion. The R-chain structure of the amino acid did not appear to be related to its GSA, except that the aliphatic branched chain amino acids, valine, leucine, and isoleucine, were devoid of GSA.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Dogs
  • Glucagon / blood
  • Glucagon / metabolism*
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Iodine Isotopes
  • Methods
  • Pancreas / drug effects
  • Pyruvates / administration & dosage
  • Pyruvates / pharmacology
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Iodine Isotopes
  • Pyruvates
  • Glucagon