Glucagon and insulin balance or equilibrium.

Glucagon is a hormone produced by the alpha cells of the pancreas. Its effect is the opposite to insulin[1] -- it causes the liver to release stored glucose into the blood, raising blood glucose levels. This process is called glycogenolysis. Glucagon is the main counterregulatory hormone to insulin[2].

Glucagon and insulin, in a healthy animal, form an equilibrium[3] that regulates blood sugar levels[4][5]. In a diabetic, the equilibrium mechanism is often seriously skewed or completely broken[6].

The hormone is used at times for hypoglycemia treatment[7], since it causes the liver to release its stores of glycogen, which the body turns into glucose[8]. Treating hypoglycemia with glucagon will be unsuccessful if the liver's glycogen stores are depleted, because there would be nothing available for release[9].

Glucagon release at low, or fast-dropping blood sugar levels is known as Somogyi rebound.

Further ReadingEdit


  1. Intervet-Caninsulin UK-Glucose Metabolism
  2. The Genetic Landscape of Diabetes
  3. Colorado State University: Physiologic Effects of Glucagon
  4. Intervet-Caninsulin UK-Insulin & Glucagon--Glucose Metabolism
  5. Intervet-Caninsulin UK-Diagram of Glucose Metabolism
  6. Intervet-Caninsulin UK-Pathophysiology of Diabetes Mellitus-What Happens With Insufficient Insulin
  7., 2000-Glucagon Infusions
  8. BD Diabetes- FAQ's About Diabetic Dogs-Dr. Greco
  9. Ineffectivity of Glucagon When Liver Glycogen Stores Are Depleted
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