Plasma catecholamines and the counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia in infants: a critical role for epinephrine and cortisol

Lesley Jackson, Fiona L. R. Williams, Ann Burchell, Michael W. H. Coughtrie, Robert Hume

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    28 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to define plasma catecholamine responses as part of the counterregulatory hormonal reaction to hypoglycemia in infants after a regular 3- to 4-h feed was omitted. Hormone levels were assessed once, at the end of the fast or at hypoglycemia. The 121 infants were subdivided into three groups for analysis: normoglycemia (n = 94, 78%); transient hypoglycemia (n = 11, 9%); or severe and persistent hypoglycemia (n = 16, 13%). The severe and persistent hypoglycemic group had significantly higher levels of cortisol and epinephrine than the normoglycemic group. Norepinephrine and glucagon levels did not differ between the groups. Human GH levels were higher in the transiently hypoglycemic group but not in the severe and persistent hypoglycemic group. Prefeed blood lactate levels differed significantly among the groups and were highest in the severe and persistent groups. Multiple regression analysis showed that cortisol levels were significantly higher in infants who had severe and persistent hypoglycemia. The counterregulatory hormonal response in infants to severe and persistent hypoglycemia was limited to elevations in only cortisol and epinephrine levels but did not involve glucagon or human GH. This limited hormonal response may also contribute to the frequent occurrence of hypoglycemia in these infants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6251-6256
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
    Volume89
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

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