Absence of islet alpha cell function in pancreatectomized patients

Diabetologia. 1982 Jan;22(1):25-32. doi: 10.1007/BF00253865.


Plasma immunoreactive glucagon, C-peptide and substrates (glucose, lactate, and alanine) were measured in 21 pancreatectomized patients and 28 patients with chronic calcifying pancreatitis during arginine infusion. Results were compared with those obtained in control and in insulin-dependent diabetic subjects, and in pancreatectomized subjects receiving a combined infusion of glucagon and arginine or somatostatin and arginine. Plasma immunoreactive glucagon in the pancreatectomized patients was 230 +/- 26 pg/ml (control subjects 100 +/- 13 pg/ml, p less than 0.001), but was unchanged following arginine or somatostatin. Following ethanol extraction of plasma it became undetectable. Similar results were obtained in patients with chronic pancreatitis. In contrast to the insulin-dependent diabetic subjects, no changes in blood glucose, lactate, and alanine concentrations were found during arginine infusion in the pancreatectomized or pancreatitis patients. Addition of glucagon restored the metabolic response to arginine in the pancreatectomized patients. Our results confirm previous smaller studies that in pancreatectomized patients, A cell function is absent or insignificant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arginine
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Glucagon / immunology
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Pancreatectomy*
  • Pancreatic Function Tests
  • Pancreatitis / blood
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology
  • Somatostatin


  • C-Peptide
  • Somatostatin
  • Glucagon
  • Arginine