Glucagon and regulation of glucose metabolism
As a counterregulatory hormone for insulin, glucagon plays a critical role in maintaining glucose homeostasis in vivo in both animals and humans. To increase blood glucose, glucagon promotes hepatic glucose output by increasing glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis and by decreasing glycogenesis and glycolysis in a concerted fashion via multiple mechanisms. Compared with healthy subjects, diabetic patients and animals have abnormal secretion of not only insulin but also glucagon. Hyperglucagonemia and altered insulin-to-glucagon ratios play important roles in initiating and maintaining pathological hyperglycemic states. Not surprisingly, glucagon and glucagon receptor have been pursued extensively in recent years as potential targets for the therapeutic treatment of diabetes.