The aim of the study was to explore the role of GLP-1 receptor activation on the counter-regulation and symptoms of hypoglycemia in subjects who have undergone gastric bypass surgery (GBP).
Experimental hyperinsulinemic–hypoglycemic clamp study.
Twelve post-GBP subjects participated in a randomized cross-over study with two hyperinsulinemic, hypoglycemic clamps (glucose nadir 2.7 mmol/L) performed on separate days with concomitant infusions of the GLP-1 analog exenatide or with saline, respectively. Continuous measurements of metabolites and counter-regulatory hormones as well as assessments of heart rate variability and symptoms of hypoglycemia were performed throughout the clamps.
No effect of GLP-1 receptor activation on counter-regulatory hormones (glucagon, catecholamines, cortisol, GH) or glucose infusion rate was seen, but we found indications of a downregulation of the sympathetic relative to the parasympathetic nerve activity, as reflected in heart rate variability. No significant differences in symptom of hypoglycemia were observed.
Short-term exposure to a GLP-1 receptor agonist does not seem to impact the counter-regulatory hormonal and metabolic responses in post-GBP subjects during hypoglycemic conditions, suggesting that the improvement in symptomatic hypoglycemia post-GBP seen following treatment with GLP-1 receptor agonists may be mediated by mechanism not directly involved in counter-regulation.