Glucagon and Lipoprotein Regulation in Man

  • R. P. Eaton


We have proposed that reduced glucagon activity may participate in the induction and/or maintenance of acquired as well as genetically determined endogenous hyperlipemia. To critically consider this hypothesis, the physiologic response to glucagon must be evaluated in a variety of clinical conditions in which the glucagon-lipid axis may be altered. Moreover, in this process, the critical role of free fatty acid availability, simultaneous insulin secretion, and concurrent production of the counter-regulatory hormones cortisol, growth hormone and catecholamines must be considered. Therefore, in the present review, the lipoprotein response to glucagon is examined in normal subjects, insulin-deficient diabetic subjects, insulin-resistant obese subjects and glucagon-resistant hyperlipemic subjects. In addition, the alterations in glucagon secretion induced by “estrogen hyperlipemia” and clofibrate “hypolipemia” are considered in relation to the hypothesis that glucagon deficiency may lead to hyperlipemia, while glucagon excess may reduce plasma lipids. A basic function of glucagon in augmenting free fatty acid availability to the liver while simultaneously “shifting” hepatic fatty acid metabolism into oxidative pathways of ketogenesis and away from synthetic pathways of lipoprotein production, is suggested as the critical axis of altered metabolism in the many pathologic conditions in which disturbed lipid physiology is recognized.


Growth Hormone Glucagon Secretion Endogenous Insulin Secretion Plasma Triglyceride Concentration Free Fatty Acid Metabolism 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. P. Eaton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New Mexico School of MedicineAlbuquerqueUSA

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