Cirrhosis was induced in rats by subcutaneous injections of CCl4 for 13 or 17 weeks. The morphology of the pancreatic islets from the CCl4-treated rats was found to be normal. The CCl4-treated rats had lower fasting serum glucose levels and higher serum insulin levels than the controls. After an oral glucose load (3 g/kg body weight), glucose levels in CCl4-treated rats stayed within the normal range, whereas the serum insulin levels remained higher with a delayed decline of insulin with time. In vitro perifusion of islets from the CCl4-treated rats showed that the response to 16.7 mmol/l glucose was reduced with both lower total insulin output and stimulated insulin output, whereas the patterns of first and second phase of insulin release did not differ. The insulin content of the perifused islets was not affected by 13 weeks of CCl4 treatment. Islets from rats treated with CCl4 for 17 weeks showed normal secretory response to 20 mmol/l L-arginine. Taken together, the results, showing normal or reduced capacity for insulin secretion, suggest that the hyperinsulinemia accompanying CCl4-induced cirrhosis is not due to increased secretion of the pancreatic islets. It may rather be associated with decreased insulin degradation by the liver with cirrhosis.
- Glucose homeostasis
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