Glucagon-like peptide I (GLP-I) decreases plasma glucose in type II diabetic patients and in healthy subjects indirectly by stimulation of insulin and inhibition of glucagon secretion, whereby the hepatic glucose production decreases. However, recent studies indicate that GLP-I may also directly influence peripheral and hepatic glucose uptake. We infused somatostatin (SS) intravenously (500 or 1,000 μg/h) in 13 healthy subjects to suppress insulin and glucagon secretion from the endocrine pancreas, together with infusion of either GLP-I (50 pmol · kg−1 · h−1) or saline intravenously. After 30 min, a 25-g intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) was carried out, and plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin, glucagon, and GLP-I were measured during the following 2 h. IVGTT together with GLP-I infusion significantly elevated insulin during 500 μg/h SS but not during 1,000 μg/h SS. Plasma glucagon was strongly depressed in all experiments. During 500 μg/h SS, the glucose disappearance constant, Kg, was 0.49 ± 0.03% per minute with GLP-I and 0.39 ± 0.04% per minute with saline (n = 8, P = 0.004). With 1,000 μg/h SS, Kg was 0.42 ± 0.03% per minute with GLP-I and 0.40 ± 0.03% per minute without (NS). In conclusion, when endogenous insulin secretion is held at a constant low level, which may be accomplished only with very large doses of SS, GLP-I has no effect on glucose elimination. Thus, an insulin-independent effect of GLP-I on glucose disposal could not be demonstrated.

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