The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effect of somatostatin (500 microgram/h intravenously) upon insulin, c-peptide, glucagon and plasma amino acids concentrations in patients with and without cirrhosis of the liver. The typical plasma amino acid pattern in cirrhosis is characterised by increased concentrations of the aromatic amino acids and decreased concentrations of the branched chain amino acids and of alanine and glycine. After administration of somatostatin insulin, c-peptide and glucagon concentrations decreased and those of the branched chain amino acids in both groups increased; in addition in patients with cirrhosis the plasma concentrations of threonine, serine, glycine, alanine, lysine, and arginine increased also. Infusion of somatostatin plus insulin in patients with cirrhosis succeeded in preventing the increase in the branched chain amino acid concentrations, while the infusion of somatostatin plus glucagon decreased threonine, serine, glycine, alinine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, lysine and arginine concentrations. It is therefore suggested that the effect of somatostatin on the plasma amino acids may be because of the reduction of insulin and glucagon concentrations; however, other effects of somatostatin cannot be excluded at present.
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