Intravenous arginine infusions were performed in two totally pancreatectomized patients and two age/sex-matched normal subjects. Plasma glucagon concentrations did not increase in the pancreatectomized patients, whereas a four- to sixfold rise of the glucagon levels following arginine administration was seen in the control subjects. Measurements of plasma glucagon-like im-munoreactivity revealed no difference between normal and pancreatectomized subjects. The data suggest the absence of a significant number of normally functioning alpha cells in extrapancreatic sites.

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