Evidence that insulin can directly inhibit hepatic glucose production

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SummaryIn order to evaluate the role of portal insulin in the modulation of hepatic glucose production (HGP), measurements of plasma glucose and insulin concentrations and both HGP and peripheral glucose disappearance rates were made following an infusion of a dose of tolbutamide (0.74 mg · m-2 · min-1) in healthy volunteers that does not result in an increase in peripheral vein insulin concentrations or metabolic clearance rate of glucose. The results showed that the infusion of such a dose of tolbutamide was associated with a significant and rapid decline in both HGP (from 9.0 ± 0.5 to 7.7 ± 0.5 μmol · kg-1 · min-1 or Δ = -13.8 ± 4.5%; p < 0.001 compared to saline) and plasma glucose concentration (from 5.1 ± 0.2 to 4.4 ± 0.1 mmol/l or Δ = -13.0 ± 2.1%; p < 0.01 compared to saline). Since neither HGP nor fasting glucose fell when tolbutamide-stimulated insulin secretion was inhibited by the concurrent administration of somatostatin, it indicated that tolbutamide by itself, does not directly inhibit HGP. Finally, HGP fell by 26.3 ± 6.0 % at 10 min after a dose of tolbutamide that elevated both peripheral and portal insulin concentrations, at a time when HGP had barely increased (Δ = + 6.9 ± 5.3 %). The difference in the magnitude of the two responses was statistically significant (p < 0.03), providing further support for the view that insulin can directly inhibit HGP, independent of any change in flow of substrates from periphery to liver. [Diabetologia (1997) 40: 1300-1306]

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