Glucagon is best known for its contribution to glucose regulation through activation of the glucagon receptor (GCGR), primarily located in the liver. However, glucagon's impact on other organs may also contribute to its potent effects in health and disease. Given that glucagon-based medicine is entering the arena of anti-obesity drugs, elucidating extrahepatic actions of glucagon are of increased importance. It has been reported that glucagon may stimulate secretion of arginine-vasopressin (AVP)/copeptin, growth hormone (GH) and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) from the pituitary gland. Nevertheless, the mechanisms and whether GCGR is present in human pituitary are unknown. In this study we found that intravenous administration of 0.2 mg glucagon to 14 healthy subjects was not associated with increases in plasma concentrations of copeptin, GH, ACTH or cortisol over a 120-min period. GCGR immunoreactivity was present in the anterior pituitary but not in cells containing GH or ACTH. Collectively, glucagon may not directly stimulate secretion of GH, ACTH or AVP/copeptin in humans but may instead be involved in yet unidentified pituitary functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171213
Pages (from-to)171213
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2024


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