The release of insulin and glucagon in cirrhotic rats was examined. Rats were made cirrhotic by a combination treatment of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and phenobarbitone. Liver cirrhosis was verified by histologic findings. Both basal and stimulated release of insulin from isolated pancreatic islets, in vitro, were decreased significantly in cirrhotic rats, as compared with control rats. Basal, but not stimulated, levels of glucagon, in vitro, were reduced significantly in cirrhotic rats. Circulating levels of plasma insulin, glucagon, glucose, bilirubin, and amylase levels were unaffected in cirrhotic rats when compared with control rats. There were no signs of pancreatitis. The results indicated that the release of insulin and glucagon is depressed in cirrhotic rats and in rats treated with cirrhotic and CCl4. Clearance of circulating insulin and glucagon by the liver was apparently reduced, since circulating levels of insulin and glucagon were unaltered in all treated rats.
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