Counterregulatory responses to insulin-induced glucose reduction in the elderly

Graydon S. Meneilly, Kenneth L. Minaker, James B. Young, Lewis Landsberg, John W. Rowe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The impact of age on counterregulatory responses to moderate reductions in blood glucose induced by aconstant insulin infusion (20 mU/m2-min) was studied in normal young (n = 7; aged 20-42 yr) and old (n = 7; aged 66-77 yr) nonobese subjects. Insulin was infused until the whole blood glucose level fell to or below 60 mg/dl. This required an infusion time of 39 ± 3 (±SE) min in the young and 36 ± 3 min in the old. Mean basal glucose [young, 88 ± 2 (±SE); old, 88 ± 2 mg/ dl), minimum glucose (young, 51 ± 2; old, 54 ± 1 mg/dl), time to nadir (young, 48 ± 3; old, 44 ±3), and time to recovery were similar in both groups. Maximal (young, 40.3 ± 2.3; old, 42.1 ± 3.3 /U/ml) insulin levels were also similar. Basal and maximal levels of glucagon, epinephrine, and GH were similar in the two groups. Although basal norepinephrine values were higher in the old subjects (young, 243 ± 38; old, 364 ± 23 pg/ml; P =0.02), increments above basal during reduction in blood glucose were not affected by age. Basal cortisol values were similar (young, 13.7 ± 1.4; old, 14.0 ± 0.7 g/dl), but maximum cortisol responses were slightly greater in the old subjects (young, 14.6 ± 1.0; old, 17.7 ± 0.9 eg/dl; P = 0.03). These studies indicate that hormonal responses and counterregulatory efficiency during modest reductions in blood glucose are preserved in healthy elderly subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-182
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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