Hormonal and substrate responses during recovery from hypoglycaemia in man during beta 1-selective and non-selective beta-adrenergic blockade

European Journal of Clinical Investigation
R J CorrallE B French


Recovery from acute hypoglycaemia induced by the injection of insulin has been examined in six human subjects under control conditions, under non-selective beta blockade (propranolol) and under selective beta 1 blockade (metoprolol). The normal blood glucose recovery was biphasic with an initial rapid and a slower subsequent phase of recovery. The early recovery mechanism was unaffected by either form of beta blockade, but with propranolol the late phase of recovery was significantly prolonged. Rises in blood lactate and plasma free fatty acids following hypoglycaemia were markedly reduced by propranolol but to a much lesser degree with metoprolol. The counterregulatory hormonal responses of glucagon, cortisol and growth hormone were augmented appropriately for the prolonged hypoglycaemia associated with propranolol. Non-selective beta adrenergic blockade with propranolol is associated with an impairment of the late phase of blood glucose recovery from hypoglycaemia. The possible mechanisms of this impairment are discussed.


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