Secretion of glucagon, GLP-1 and GIP may be affected by circadian rhythm in healthy males

Dorte B Zilstorff, Michael M Richter, Jens Hannibal, Henrik L Jørgensen, Henriette P Sennels, Nicolai J Wewer Albrechtsen


BACKGROUND: Glucagon is secreted from pancreatic alpha cells in response to low blood glucose and increases hepatic glucose production. Furthermore, glucagon enhances hepatic protein and lipid metabolism during a mixed meal. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are secreted from gut endocrine cells during meals and control glucose homeostasis by potentiating insulin secretion and inhibiting food intake. Both glucose homeostasis and food intake have been reported to be affected by circadian rhythms and vice versa. In this study, we investigated whether the secretion of glucagon, GLP-1 and GIP was affected by circadian rhythms.

METHODS: A total of 24 healthy men with regular sleep schedules were examined for 24 h at the hospital ward with 15 h of wakefulness and 9 h of sleep. Food intake was standardized, and blood samples were obtained every third hour. Plasma concentrations of glucagon, GLP-1 and GIP were measured, and data were analyzed by rhythmometric statistical methods. Available data on plasma glucose and plasma C-peptide were also included.

RESULTS: Plasma concentrations of glucagon, GLP-1, GIP, C-peptide and glucose fluctuated with a diurnal 24-h rhythm, with the highest levels during the day and the lowest levels during the night: glucagon (p < 0.0001, peak time 18:26 h), GLP-1 (p < 0.0001, peak time 17:28 h), GIP (p < 0.0001, peak time 18:01 h), C-peptide (p < 0.0001, peak time 17.59 h), and glucose (p < 0.0001, peak time 23:26 h). As expected, we found significant correlations between plasma concentrations of C-peptide and GLP-1 and GIP but did not find correlations between glucose concentrations and concentrations of glucagon, GLP-1 and GIP.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that under meal conditions that are similar to that of many free-living individuals, plasma concentrations of glucagon, GLP-1 and GIP were observed to be higher during daytime and evening than overnight. These findings underpin disturbed circadian rhythm as a potential risk factor for diabetes and obesity.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT06166368. Registered 12 December 2023.

TidsskriftBMC Endocrine Disorders
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)38
StatusUdgivet - 14 mar. 2024


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