International Journal of Pancreatology

, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp 375–388 | Cite as

The effects of epinephrine on islet hormone secretion in the dog

  • Bo Ahrén
  • Richard C. Veith
  • Gerald J. Taborsky
Reseach Papers


We investigated the direct effects of physiological levels of epinephrine on the basal and arginine-stimulated secretion of insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin from the in situ pancreas in halothane-anaesthetized dogs.

An IV infusion of 20 ng/kg/min of epinephrine increased plasma epinephrine levels to 918±103 pg/ml (P<0.001), and increased the baseline pancreatic output of insulin (P<0.05), glucagon (P<0.05) and somatostatin (P<0.05). The acute insulin response (AIR) to 2.5 g of arginine during this infusion of epinephrine was significantly higher (P<0.05) than in controls as were the acute glucagon response (AGR) (P<0.05) and the acute somatostatin response (ASLIR) (P<0.05). Plasma glucose levels increased slightly and transiently during infusion of epinephrine from 99±2 mg/dl to a maximum of 110±3 mg/dl (P<0.05).

An IV infusion of 80 ng/kg/min of epinephrine produced plasma epinephrine levels of 2948±281 pg/ml, and increased the baseline pancreatic output of insulin (P<0.05) and glucagon (P<0.05). In contrast, baseline somatostatin output decreased transiently during this high dose infusion of epinephrine. The AIR and ASLIR to arginine were both significantly lower (P<0.05) than those during the infusion of epinephrine at the low dose. The AGR to arginine remained potentiated (P<0.05). Plasma glucose levels increased from 99±3 mg/dl to 119±4 mg/dl (P<0.01).

We conclude that the effect of epinephrine on islet hormone secretion is dependent on the plasma level of epinephrine. At stress levels of 900–1000 pg/ml, both insulin and somatostatin secretion are stimulated; only at near pharmacologic, or extreme stress levels, does epinephrine produce net inhibition.

Key words

In vivo Halothane anesthesia Stress Insulin Glucagon Somatostatin 


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Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (Biomedical Division) 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Ahrén
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard C. Veith
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Gerald J. Taborsky
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Division of Endocrinology and MetabolismVeterans Administration Medical CenterSeattleU.S.A.
  4. 4.Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical CenterVeterans Administration Medical CenterSeattleU.S.A.
  5. 5.Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesVeterans Administration Medical CenterSeattleU.S.A.
  6. 6.University of WashingtonSeattleU.S.A.

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