The effect of intravenous infusion of epinephrine, either alone or together with various doses of phentolamine or propranolol, on the secretion of both glucagon and insulin was determined in six sheep. Intravenous infusion of epinephrine alone caused increases in plasma glucagon and glucose concentrations and produced a slight but significant decrease in plasma insulin concentration. The concomitant infusion of propranolol and epinephrine augmented glucagon release and inhibited insulin secretion. Combined propranolol plus epinephrine infusion also caused a marked hyperglycemia. The concomitant infusion of phentolamine and epinephrine produced slight inhibition of glucagon secretion and markedly promoted insulin secretion. Epinephrine-induced hyperglycemia was eliminated by phentolamine infusion. The effects of isoproterenol infusion on plasma glucagon, insulin, and glucose concentrations were similar to that caused by the concomitant infusion of phentolamine and epinephrine. The effects of isoproterenol were abolished by the infusion of propranolol. It is concluded that an alpha-receptor mechanism is the most important component of adrenergic modulation of pancreatic glucagon secretion, whereas beta-receptor activation stimulates and alpha-receptor activation inhibits insulin secretion in sheep.
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