Papers And Originals

Autonomic Control of Insulin Secretion and the Treatment of Heart Failure

Br Med J 1970; 4 doi: (Published 07 November 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;4:328
  1. P. A. Majid,
  2. C. Saxton,
  3. J. R. W. Dykes,
  4. M. C. Galvin,
  5. S. H. Taylor


    To investigate the role of the autonomic nervous system in controlling insulin secretion 13 normal subjects and 5 patients with heart failure underwent insulin secretion tests. Alpha-adrenergic stimulation and beta-receptor blockade significantly depressed the secretion of insulin in response to intravenous tolbutamide in normal subjects, while both alpha-blockade and beta-stimulation significantly increased the insulin secretion response in both normal subjects and patients in heart failure. Parasympathetic stimulation and blockade had no significant effect on the insulin secretion response. These findings suggest that drugs that block the alpha-adrenergic receptors or stimulate the beta-adrenergic receptors by their ability to counteract the insulin suppression resulting from increased sympathetic nervous activity may play a vital metabolic part in the deranged metabolism of the failing heart in addition to their direct haemodynamic benefits.