European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 253–256 | Cite as

Sympatho-adrenal response to hypoglycaemia in infants

  • B. Stanek
  • A. Lischka
  • H. Hörtnagl
  • A. Pollak


The response of the sympathoadrenal system to hypoglycaemia of different etiology was studied in seven infants, aged 10–189 days. Five infants had hyperinsulinism secondary to nesidioblastosis or to a β-cell adenoma of the pancreas, one infant had neonatal sepsis due to staphylococcal infection and one infant congenital growth hormone (HGH) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) deficiency. In babies with hyperinsulinism, plasma noradrenaline increased from 0.29±0.03 to 0.61±0.09 ng/ml (P<0.01), whereas adrenaline increased only in three, but did not change in two babies. Increases in heart rate and blood pressure paralleled these changes. In hypoglycaemia due to congenital sepsis, noradrenaline increased from 0.39 to 1.64 ng/ml and adrenaline from 0.05 to 0.86 ng/ml. This was associated with marked haemodynamic changes. In congenital HGH and ACTH deficiency, the low basal plasma levels of noradrenaline (0.12 ng/ml) and adrenaline (0.01 ng/ml) remained unchanged in response to hypoglycaemia. Heart rate and blood pressure were unaffected. The sympathoadrenal system was activated by hypoglycaemia in all infants except in congenital HGH and ACTH deficiency. In contrast to adults, noradrenaline was the preferentially released catecholamine, suggesting an involvement of noradrenaline in glucose counter regulation in infancy.

Key words

Noradrenaline Adrenaline Hypoglycaemia Infants 



adrenocorticotropic hormone


human growth hormone


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Stanek
    • 1
  • A. Lischka
    • 2
  • H. Hörtnagl
    • 3
  • A. Pollak
    • 2
  1. 1.2nd Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Institute of Biochemical PharmacologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustralia

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