The metabolism of hepatic- and intestinally derived lipoproteins is regulated in a complex fashion by nutrients, hormones, and neurologic and other factors. Recent studies in animal models suggest an important role for glucagon acting via the glucagon receptor in regulating hepatic triglyceride (TG) secretion. Here we examined the direct effects of glucagon on regulation of hepatic and intestinal lipoprotein metabolism in humans.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Eight healthy men underwent two studies each, in random order, 4–6 weeks apart in which de novo lipogenesis, kinetics of larger VLDL1 TG, and kinetics of VLDL1 and smaller VLDL2 apolipoprotein (apo)B100 and B48 were studied using established stable isotope enrichment methods. Subjects were studied in the constant fed state under conditions of a pancreatic clamp (with infusion of somatostatin, insulin, and growth hormone) at either basal glucagon (BG study, 64.5 ± 2.1 pg/mL) or hyperglucagonemia (high glucagon [HG] study, 183.2 ± 5.1 pg/mL).
There were no significant differences in plasma concentration of VLDL1 or VLDL2 TG, apoB100 or apoB48 between BG and HG studies. There was, however, lower (P < 0.05) VLDL1 apoB100 fractional catabolic rate (−39%) and production rate (−30%) in HG versus BG, but no difference in de novo lipogenesis or TG turnover, and glucagon had no effect on intestinal (B48-containing) lipoprotein metabolism.
Glucagon acutely regulates hepatic but not intestinal lipoprotein particle metabolism in humans both by decreasing hepatic lipoprotein particle production as well as by inhibiting particle clearance, with no net effect on particle concentration.