Pancreatic α-cell hyperplasia and hyperglucagonemia due to a mutation of the glucagon

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Etienne Larger, Nicolai Jacob Wewer Albrechtsen, L.H. Hansen, R.W. Gelling, Jaqueline Capeau, Carolyn F. Deacon, O.D. Madsen, F Yakushiji, P. De Meyts, Jens Juul Holst, Erica Nishimura

Glucagon stimulates hepatic glucose production by activating specific glucagon receptors in the liver, which in turn increase hepatic glycogenolysis as well as gluconeogenesis and ureagenesis from amino acids. Conversely, glucagon secretion is regulated by concentrations of glucose and amino acids. Disruption of glucagon signaling in rodents results in grossly elevated circulating glucagon levels but no hypoglycemia. Here, we describe a patient carrying a homozygous G to A substitution in the invariant AG dinucleotide found in a 3′ mRNA splice junction of the glucagon receptor gene. Loss of the splice site acceptor consensus sequence results in the deletion of 70 nucleotides encoded by exon 9, which introduces a frame shift and an early termination signal in the receptor mRNA sequence. The mutated receptor neither bound 125I-labeled glucagon nor induced cAMP production upon stimulation with up to 1 µM glucagon. Despite the mutation, the only obvious pathophysiological trait was hyperglucagonemia, hyperaminoacidemia and massive hyperplasia of the pancreatic α-cells assessed by histology. Our case supports the notion of a hepato–pancreatic feedback system, which upon disruption leads to hyperglucagonemia and α-cell hyperplasia, as well as elevated plasma amino acid levels. Together with the glucagon-induced hypoaminoacidemia in glucagonoma patients, our case supports recent suggestions that amino acids may provide the feedback link between the liver and the pancreatic α-cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberEDM160081
JournalEndocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports
Volume2016
Number of pages6
ISSN2052-0573
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 169969449