Oral glucose in cirrhotics. Effects on plasma aminoacid patterns and the role of insulin and glucagon.Diabete Metab. 1979 Jun; 5(2):135-9.DM
Changes in the plasma aminoacid (AA) profile present in hepatic encephalopathy were related to a catabolic state characterized by a reduced insulin/glucagon molar ratio (IRI/IRG). Oral glucose is able to suppress the hyperglucagonemia and further to increase the elevated insulin levels of cirrhotics leading to a rise of IRI/IRG. We evaluated the plasma AAs in ten controls and twelve cirrhotics following the ingestion of oral glucose. At 180 min we demonstrated a similar fall (about 35%) of plasma AAs both in cirrhotics and in controls, with the exception of free tryptophan, which fell more markedly in cirrhotics (about 60%), possibly secondary to the fall in plasma free fatty acids. After the oral glucose load, the levels of aromatic AAs and free tryptophan, as well as the molar ratio free tryptophan/branched-chain + aromatic AAs returned to normal in cirrhotics. High levels of both aromatic AAs and free tryptophan have been implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatic coma. Our data support the hypothesis that the administration of oral glucose might be relevant in the management of cirrhotic patients with hepatic encephalopathy, possibly improving their mental state.