Plasma glucagon and catecholamine levels were measured in male athletes before and after exhaustive 15 min continuous running and strenuous intermittent short-term exercise (3 X 300 m). Blood lactate levels were higher after the intermittent exercise (mean 16.7 mmol X 1(-1)) than after the continuous running (mean 7.1 mmol X 1(-1)). Plasma glucagon concentration increased during continuous running and intermittent exercise by 41% and 55%, respectively, and the increases in plasma noradrenaline concentration were 7.7- and 9.1-fold compared with the respective pre-exercise values. Immediately after the exercises plasma cyclic AMP, blood glucose and alanine levels were elevated significantly. The data suggest that the sympathoadrenal system is of major importance for liver glucose production during high-intensity exercises. Catecholamines directly stimulate liver glucose production and may indirectly stimulate it by enhancing the secretion of glucagon.
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