Effects of Gonadal Hormones and Contraceptive Steroids on Glucose and Insulin Metabolism

  • Paul Beck


Considerable data have been accumulated regarding the effect of naturally-occurring and synthetic sex steroids on glucose and insulin metabolism. The studies have been performed largely to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for changes in carbohydrate metabolism during pregnancy. Initially, studying glucose tolerance in women treated with contraceptive steroids seemed to be a logical way to dissociate the effects of gonadal steroids from the metabolic effects of human placental lactogen during gestation. However, such studies have been confusing and often apparently contradictory. Yet, if the structural characteristics of the steroid compounds tested are considered, these results are basically in agreement with, rather than contradictory to, data obtained earlier in laboratory animals. If one correlates the changes in glucose or insulin metabolism with the chemical structure of the estrogen or progestin tested, it is possible to show that there are clear structure-activity relationships between the compounds tested and the results observed, which appear to be modified by the functional state of the pancreatic islet cells in the subjects tested.


Glucose Tolerance Ethinyl Estradiol Hypoglycemic Action Intravenous Glucose Tolerance Test Insulin Metabolism 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Beck
    • 1
  1. 1.Endocrinology Division, Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of ColoradoDenverUSA

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