Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 389, Issue 2, pp 115–120 | Cite as

Rapid rise in plasma glucagon induced by acute cold exposure in man and rat

  • Hans J. Seitz
  • Wilhelm Krone
  • Harald Wilke
  • Wolfgang Tarnowski
  • D. Carsten
  • B. Dunkelmann
  • A. Harneit
Transport Processes, Metabolism and Endocrinology; Kidney, Gastrointestinal Tract, and Exocrine Glands


The effect of acute cold exposure on the concentration of glucagon in the blood was investigated in man and in intact and adrenalectomized rats.

In man fasted overnight acute cold exposure, which caused a twofold increase in O2-consumption resulted in a rapid rise in plasma glucagon. The levels of insulin and blood glucose remained unaltered, while the concentration of serum free fatty acids and β-hydroxybutyrate increased.

In fasted intact rats acute cold exposure lead to similar effects. A close parallelism between the rise in plasma glucagon and the concentration of hepatic cycloAMP was observed. Adrenalectomy did not impair the cold induced rise in plasma glucagon and hepatic cycloAMP.

It is concluded that acute cold exposure caused a rapid rise in the concentration of plasma glucagon leading to an increase in the concentration of hepatic cycloAMP, thus enhancing the rate of hepatic gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis. As these alterations were similar in the absence of glucocorticoids and medulla-derived catecholamines, it is suggested that glucagon may play a role in the metabolic adaptation to acute cold exposure.

Key words

Cold exposure Glucagon cycloAMP Insulin 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans J. Seitz
    • 1
  • Wilhelm Krone
    • 1
  • Harald Wilke
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Tarnowski
    • 1
  • D. Carsten
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Dunkelmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Harneit
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Physiologische ChemieUniversitäts-Krankenhaus Eppendorf, Universität HamburgHamburg 20Federal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.II. Medizinische KlinikUniversitäts-Krankenhaus Eppendorf, Universität HamburgHamburg 20Federal Republic of Germany

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