Injections and infusions of oxytocin into conscious dogs caused an increase in plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin and glucagon. When blood glucose was clamped at a raised level the injection of oxytocin still increased insulin and glucagon concentrations in plasma. Infusion of somatostatin suppressed plasma concentrations of glucagon and insulin but did not prevent oxytocin-induced increments in blood glucose. Injection of oxytocin still caused a marked release of glucagon, whereas the insulin response was greatly diminished. When endogenous insulin and glucagon secretion was suppressed by infusion of somatostatin and glucose levels were stabilized by concomitant infusions of glucagon and insulin, injections of oxytocin did not alter blood glucose concentrations. It is concluded that the increase in blood glucose following the administration of oxytocin is secondary to the release of glucagon and that oxytocin exerts a direct stimulatory effect on glucagon and possibly insulin secretion.
J. Endocr. (1986) 108, 293–298