In nine children with clinically overt insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus the authors injected cyclic somatostatin (3 mug./kg. bolus, followed by infusion of 13 mug./kg. in 60 minutes) and measured blood glucose, plasma growth hormone, and glucagon concentrations throughout the infusion. The rapid administration produced no significant changes of these parameters. With the prolonged infusion there was a significant reduction of blood glucose from a mean of 148 ± 19.7 to a mean of 88.5 ± 18.1 mg./100 ml. (P < 0.005) and of plasma glucagon from a basal mean of 33.3 ± 2.4 to a minimum mean of 22.1 ± 1.7 pg./ml. (P < 0.01). There was a statistically significant correlation between the two parameters (0.01 < P < 0.05). Plasma GH values also diminished during the infusion, but the reduction was not statistically significant.

These results show that somatostatin lowers blood glucose concentrations as a secondary effect of inhibition of glucagon secretion. Somatostatin is not suitable for therapy in diabetes. We speculate that a similar substance with a more prolonged and specific action on glucagon might prove of practical value in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

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