Blood glucagon measurement is used in the diagnosis of glucagonoma, a neoplasm of Langerhans islet alpha-cells, and in the investigation of hypoglycaemia caused by chronic pancreatitis or idiopathic glucagon deficiency.
Glucagon is a peptide hormone synthesized and secreted by the alpha-cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Hypoglycaemia and amino acids stimulate glucagon secretion, while elevated insulin levels inhibit its secretion. Glucagon increases the concentration of glucose in the blood by increasing the breakdown of glycogen to glucose and stimulates the activity of phosphorylase, the enzyme that activates the first step in gluconeogenesis.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Increase: Acromegaly, burns, cirrhosis, Cushing's syndrome, diabetes mellitus, diabetic ketoacidosis, familial hyperglycemia, glucagonoma, HIV, hyperosmolarity, hypoglycemia, Japanese encephalitis, the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, necrotic dermatitis, cellular damage of the pancreas islets, pancreatitis (acute, severe), pheochromocytoma, postoperative, renal failure, stress, trauma, uremia. Medications: amino acids, cholecystokinin, pancreozymins, danazol, fructose, gastrin, glucocorticoids, insulin, nifedipine, sympathomimetic amines. Diet rich in fats or carbohydrates.
- Decrease: Cystic fibrosis, hypoglycaemia (associated with chronic pancreatitis), idiopathic glucagon deficiency, insulinoma, pancreatic neoplasms, pancreatitis (chronic), after pancreatectomy. Medications: atenolol, pindolol, propranolol, secretin, stevioside.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.