Counterregulatory secretion of epinephrine occurs during severe insulin-induced hypoglycemia. Under these conditions (minimal plasma glucose 27.4 ± 1 mg/dl) the decrease of serum potassium concentration (0.9 mVal/L) is mediated by two mechanisms: insulin-induced (0.48 mVal/L) and epinephrine-induced (0.42 mVal/L) cellular uptake of potassium. Epinephrine-induced serum potassium uptake appears to be more sensitive to beta-adrenoceptor blockade than glucose production. The intensification of insulin-induced hypokalemia by epinephrine is of clinical significance.

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