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Plasma glucagon levels in the term human infant and effect of hypoxia
  1. D. I. Johnston,
  2. S. R. Bloom


    The mean plasma pancreatic glucagon level at birth in 44 normal infants delivered vaginally was 140 pg/ml. The simultaneous maternal level was 122 pg/ml which was not quite significantly different at the P [unk]0.05 level. 2 hours after birth 30 of these infants had a mean rise in plasma glucagon of 51 pg/ml (P [unk] 0.01), and their mothers had a fall of 38 pg/ml (P [unk] 0.05). The mean plasma pancreatic glucagon level at birth in 12 normal infants delivered by caesarean section was 130 pg/ml which did not differ significantly from the group delivered vaginally. The glucagon level at birth in 20 infants with fetal distress (fetal scalp pH [unk] 7.2 or umbilical artery pH [unk] 7.15) was 244 pg/ml, and this was significantly higher than for normal infants at birth (P [unk] 0.01). Whereas the rise in neonatal glucagon 2 hours after birth might have been caused by a mean fall in blood glucose of 23 mg/100 ml, the infants with fetal distress had normal glucose levels, so that another mechanism must be responsible for their raised glucagon.

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