To assess the effect of the endocrine environment and, more specifically, of growth hormone and insulin on glucagon receptors, we studied 125I-glucagon binding to liver membranes in five groups of rats: (1) controls, (2) streptozocin (STZ)-treated, (3) tumor-bearing (growth hormone-producing, Mt-T-W15), (4) STZ-treated tumor-bearing, and (5) hypophysectomized rats. Glucagon binding was decreased in tumor-bearing, hypophysectomized, and STZ-treated rats. Basal and glucagon-stimulated cAMP levels were determined in isolated hepatocytes. The basal cAMP levels were increased in STZ-treated, tumor-bearing, STZ-treated tumor-bearing, and hypophysectomized animals. All groups responded and produced more cAMP in response to glucagon stimulation, although the maximal response was greater in STZ-treated, tumor-bearing STZ-treated, and hypophysectomized groups than in the controls. Our data confirm that hyperglucagonemia downregulates the hepatic glucagon receptors and suggest that insulin and growth hormone may play a stimulatory role in their regulation. The results also suggest that the downregulation of glucagon receptors is not directly correlated to the basal or glucagon-stimulated CAMP levels.

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