The effect of aiginine infusion on pancreatic glucagon, insulin and glucose was studied in fourteen patients with chronic ‘alcoholic’ pancreatitis and seven control patients. There appeared to be two types of pancreatitis, one with concomitant decrease in glucagon and insulin secretion and the other with severe insulinopenia and relative hyperglucagonemia. The bihormonal derangement mimics abnormalities that occur with genetic diabetes. The relative hypersecretion of glucagon in chronic pancreatitis may be a consequence of insulinopenia rather than a primary abnormality.

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