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Adrenergic system and carbohydrate metabolism. Effects of beta-receptor blockade on insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity in normoglycaemic patients

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The effects of 3 weeks of treatment with the beta-receptor blocking agent propranolol and a placebo on glucose tolerance, insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity have been evaluated in 7 normoglycaemic hypertensive patients by an oral glucose tolerance test and the insulin clamp technique.

Significant changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate were observed at the end of propranolol treatment, but there were no associated changes in glucose tolerance, insulin secretion or peripheral insulin sensitivity. No difference was observed in glucagon, growth hormone and free fatty acids between propranolol and placebo treatment.

The results support the view that the hypothetical pancreatic glucoreceptor, at least in non-acute studies, is not affected by beta blockade. In addition, there was no effect on tissue sensitivity to insulin.

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Ferrara, L.A., Capaldo, B., Rivellese, A. et al. Adrenergic system and carbohydrate metabolism. Effects of beta-receptor blockade on insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity in normoglycaemic patients. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 33, 273–277 (1987).

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Key words

  • beta-adrenoreceptor blockers
  • normoglycaemia
  • glucose tolerance
  • insulin secretion and -sensitivity
  • hypertension
  • propranolol