We used microdialysis to distinguish the effects hyperinsulinemia of and hypoglycemia on glucose, gluconeogenic substrate, and catecholamine levels in adipose and muscle extracellular fluid (ECF). Ten lean humans (six males and four females) were studied during baseline and hyperinsulinemic (3 mU · kg−1 · min−1 · for 3 h) euglycemia (5.0 mmol/l) and hypoglycemia (2.8 mmol/l). In muscle and adipose, basal ECF glucose was lower (muscle, 3.5 ± 0.2 mmol/l; adipose tissue, 3.3 ± 0.2 mmol/l) and lactate was higher (muscle, 2.2 ± 0.2 mmol/l; adipose, 1.5 ± 0.3 mmol/l) than respective plasma values (glucose, 4.9 ±0.1 mmol/l; lactate, 0.7 ± 0.1 mmol/l), whereas alanine was higher in muscle ECF (379 ± 22 μmol/l) than adipose tissue (306 ± 22 μmol/l) and plasma (273 ± 33 μmol/l). Plasma catecholamines (unchanged during euglycemia) rose during hypoglycemia with epinephrine, increasing approximately fivefold more than norepinephrine. In contrast, the hypoglycemia-induced increments in muscle dialysate norepinephrine and epinephrine were similar, suggesting local generation of norepinephrine. Compared with euglycemia, hypoglycemia produced a greater increase in lactate and a smaller reduction in alanine in muscle ECF, whereas hypoglycemia caused a greater relative fall in ECF glucose concentrations in muscle (72 ± 16%) and adipose tissue (69 ±9%) than in plasma (42 ± 3%) (P < 0.05). We conclude that hypoglycemia increases the generation of norepinephrine and gluconeogenic substrates in key target tissues, while increasing the plasma-tissue concentration gradient for glucose. These changes suggest the stimulation of glucose extraction by peripheral tissues, despite systemic counterregulatory hormone release and local sympathetic activation.

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