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Regulating Plasma Glucose: Insulin and Glucagon Function

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The basics of insulin and glucagon in regulating plasma glucose.

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Solution Summary

The interplay between insulin and glucagon is a highly regulated and easily learned topic in physiology or endocrinology.

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Insulin & Glucagon

Insulin decreases plasma glucose.
Glucagon increases plasma glucose.

Insulin stimulates glucose uptake into the cell.
Glucagon stimulates glucose release from the cell.

You may have come across these statements in your textbook. Now you have a choice:

1) Memorize these statements and write the exam
2) Understand why our body has a system such as this, what the implications of disturbing this system entail and, knowing for the rest of your life this valuable knowledge and understanding when you come across situations that involve diabetes, starvation or hormonal imbalances.

You have heard of insulin if you know anybody with diabetes and, chances are, you know several. Type I diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a pathological condition where the body's pancreas (beta-cells) has become damaged and rendered unable to produce insulin in sufficient quantities. Until the isolation of insulin from animals, this was a horrible, slow, painful, and devastating death sentence. Doctors would watch helplessly as they saw their patients literally starve to death. Why?

Insulin is made and released by the beta-cells in the pancreas in response to elevated glucose. When we digest food our blood glucose levels ...

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