Glucagon Receptor Signaling and Lipid Metabolism

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Glucagon is secreted from the pancreatic alpha cells upon hypoglycemia and stimulates hepatic glucose production. Type 2 diabetes is associated with dysregulated glucagon secretion, and increased glucagon concentrations contribute to the diabetic hyperglycemia. Antagonists of the glucagon receptor have been considered as glucose-lowering therapy in type 2 diabetes patients, but their clinical applicability has been questioned because of reports of therapy-induced increments in liver fat content and increased plasma concentrations of low-density lipoprotein. Conversely, in animal models, increased glucagon receptor signaling has been linked to improved lipid metabolism. Glucagon acts primarily on the liver and by regulating hepatic lipid metabolism glucagon may reduce hepatic lipid accumulation and decrease hepatic lipid secretion. Regarding whole-body lipid metabolism, it is controversial to what extent glucagon influences lipolysis in adipose tissue, particularly in humans. Glucagon receptor agonists combined with glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (dual agonists) improve dyslipidemia and reduce hepatic steatosis. Collectively, emerging data support an essential role of glucagon for lipid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number413
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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