The effect of an oral dose of 1 gm. L-dopa either without or after a concomitant oral administration of 100 gm. glucose on the plasma level of pancreatic glucagon, plasma immunoreactive insulin (IRI), and plasma growth hormone (GH) was assessed in eight normal and 10 insulin-treated diabetic subjects. In the normal group the stimulatory effect of L-dopa on pancreatic glucagon release was reconfirmed. Moreover, in the diabetics essentially the same plasma glucagon increase after drug administration was found, such a response being inhibited in both groups by glucose.
The increase of plasma GH after L-dopa in both healthy persons and diabetics and the inhibition of this response by glucose in healthy subjects was reconfirmed. Furthermore, the same effect of exogenous glucose on the L-dopa-induced GH release was observed in diabetics.
It may be concluded that glucagon may play a pathogenetic role in the worsening of parkinsonian diabetic patients during the treatment with L-dopa and that diabetic hyperglycemie per se seems to be insufficient for an inhibition of the release of both glucagon and GH after L-dopa.