We have evaluated intravenous glucagon as a pharmacologic stimulus to adrenal catecholamine secretion in normal human subjects. Urinary epinephrine and norepinephrine were measured at two hourly intervals before and after the intravenous injection of saline, 4 mg glucagon, or 0.1 μ/kg crystalline insulin. Urinary epinephrine was increased 2.3-fold over baseline after both saline and glucagon. By contrast, insulin hypoglycemia produced a 24-fold rise in urinary epinephrine. No rise in urinary norepinephrine was detected in any test. Under the conditions of this study, we conclude that epinephrine excreted after glucagon injection is due to the stress of the test itself. In normal man, glucagon either does not stimulate adrenal catecholamine secretion, or the effect is too small to measure. By contrast, in pheochromocytoma, glucagon may be specific for catecholamine secretion, based on data from the literature. In normal subjects, insulin hypoglycemia remains the only proved method for assessing adrenal catecholamine reserve.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism