A friend of mine posted the following article on facebook: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126161835.htm
The article states that a team of scientists found that when glucagon is suppressed, BG control is achieved in mice without the use of insulin. This article really confused me and has made me realize that I was thinking about the function of glucagon incorrectly. I have a bunch of questions and I'm going to throw them out there in hopes that someone can shed some light on this topic.
Firstly, glucagon is produced in the pancreas, right? I always thought that when autoimmune disease destroyed the islet cells, glucagon function was also impaired, which is why type 1 diabetics get low blood sugar (since glucagon prevents low blood sugar in non-D people, correct?) After reading this article, my theory obviously didn't make sense, so I tried to do some research on glucagon function in type 1 diabetes but haven't had much luck. What I've been able to gather is that the pancreas continues to produce glucagon even after islet cell destruction. Glucagon is produced only in the absence of insulin, so when type 1 diabetics are not injecting insulin, their blood sugar gets extremely high because glucagon production increases (this explains why my blood sugar gets insane whenever i forget to re-attach my pump, or if I'm having a site problem.) If glucagon production impairment is not the reason that type 1 diabetics get low blood sugar, does that mean that we only get low because of insulin overdose? If we produce glucagon, why doesn't it prevent our lows? Also, if glucagon is produced only in the absence of insulin, why doesn't basal or long acting insulin inhibit the production of glucagon? (If it did, there wouldn't be blood sugar without food, right?)
So, if what I've said above is correct, that means that type 1 diabetics need to inject large doses of insulin in order to balance out the overproduction of glucagon that is occurring because of their inability to produce insulin? (I just confused myself...no wonder my blood sugar is so hard to control lol) If this is true, I can understand why suppressing glucagon would eliminate the need for basal or long acting insulin, but I guess my big question is: how would suppressing glucagon eliminate the need for insulin to cover carbohydrates consumed as food?
Sorry if what I wrote was hard to follow (or really dumb), but I'm trying to wrap my head around the concept and my thoughts are more than a little scattered!
Thanks in advance!