Glucagon's Metabolic Action in Health and Disease

Academic Article


  • Discovered almost simultaneously with insulin, glucagon is a pleiotropic hormone with metabolic action that goes far beyond its classical role to increase blood glucose. Albeit best known for its ability to directly act on the liver to increase de novo glucose production and to inhibit glycogen breakdown, glucagon lowers body weight by decreasing food intake and by increasing metabolic rate. Glucagon further promotes lipolysis and lipid oxidation and has positive chronotropic and inotropic effects in the heart. Interestingly, recent decades have witnessed a remarkable renaissance of glucagon's biology with the acknowledgment that glucagon has pharmacological value beyond its classical use as rescue medication to treat severe hypoglycemia. In this article, we summarize the multifaceted nature of glucagon with a special focus on its hepatic action and discuss the pharmacological potential of either agonizing or antagonizing the glucagon receptor for health and disease. © 2021 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 11:1759-1783, 2021.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zeigerer A; Sekar R; Kleinert M; Nason S; Habegger KM; Müller TD
  • Start Page

  • 1759
  • End Page

  • 1783
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 2