Fasting concentrations, clearance of exogenous infused amino acids, and lean body mass were studied in a patient with glucagonoma syndrome (fasting glucagon = 380 pmol/l, normal range 15-45 pmol). The fasting concentrations of all amino acids were reduced. The clearances of alanine, arginine, glycine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, proline, serine, threonine, and tyrosine were increased. The urea synthesis rate during amino acid infusion was 27 mumols/kg per minute (normal range 20-24 mumols/kg per minute). The lean body mass of the patients was reduced to 59% of the expected value. It is suggested that the weight loss of patients with glucagonoma syndrome is partly due to increased hepatic conversion of amino acid nitrogen to urea nitrogen, resulting in decreased blood amino acid concentration, and secondary to this, organ protein catabolism, as shown by the decreased lean body mass.
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