Regulation of amino acid metabolism by epinephrine

S. Del Prato, R. A. DeFronzo, P. Castellino, J. Wahren, A. Alvestrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The effect of epinephrine on amino acid (AA) metabolism was examined in 33 healthy volunteers who participated in four studies. Nine subjects participated in study I, which consisted of four parts: euglycemic insulin clamp, insulin plus epinephrine, insulin plus epinephrine plus propranolol, and insulin plus propranolol. In study II six subjects received epinephrine with hepatic-femoral venous catheterization. In study III five individuals received epinephrine with somatostatin plus basal insulin replacement. In study IV quadriceps muscle biopsy was performed in six subjects after epinephrine or insulin infusion. Both epinephrine and insulin caused a generalized decline in all plasma AA except alanine. With combined epinephrine-insulin infusion, the decrease in plasma AA was additive. Propranolol blocked the hypoaminoacidemic effect of epinephrine but failed to alter the AA lowering action of insulin. Epinephrine, while maintaining basal insulinemia, reduced the catechol's hypoaminoacidemic effect by 39%. After epinephrine, splanchnic alanine uptake increased, but plasma alanine remained constant because of a parallel rise in muscle alanine production. Plasma/intracellular concentrations of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and all gluconeogenic amino acids, except alanine, decreased after both epinephrine and insulin. In summary, the effect of epinephrine on plasma/intracellular total, gluconeogenic, and BCAA concentrations is similar to insulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E878-E887
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5 21-5
StatePublished - 1990


  • insulin
  • intracellular amino acid concentration
  • leg balance
  • muscle biopsy
  • splanchnic balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of amino acid metabolism by epinephrine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this