Glucagon response to insulin hypoglycemia was tested in diabetics with autonomic neuropathy (N=9), diabetics without neuropathy (N=8), and normals (N=9). With similar levels of hypoglycemia, growth hormone and plasma cortisol increased in all groups. The glucagon response in normals (121 ± 19 vs. 308 ± 30 pg./ml., mean ± S. E. M. of baseline vs. hypoglycemia peak) was significantly less in nonneuropathic diabetics than in normals (128 ± 13 vs. 209 ± 30) and absent in neuropathic diabetics (128 ± 23 vs. 115 ± 20). Arginine stimulation produced a glucagon response in the neuropathic diabetics (106 ± 16 vs. 523 ± 103). The data indicate that the capacity to release glucagon during hypoglycemia is lost in diabetic neuropathy while glucagon responsiveness to arginine is retained. Neuropathy in diabetes may contribute to metabolic instability.

This content is only available via PDF.