Glucagon, a hormone secreted by pancreatic alpha cells, assists in the maintenance of blood glucose levels. When blood glucose levels decrease, glucagon stimulates the conversion of glycogen into glucose, which results in an increase in blood glucose . Glycogen, the stored form of glucose, is found primarily in the liver. Measuring plasma glucagon levels assists in diagnosing pancreatic conditions and disorders . Glucagon levels are reported as picogram per milliliter (pg/mL) .
Variations from Normal. Glucagon levels increase in the presence of acute pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, severe diabetic ketoacidosis, and glucagonoma, a pancreatic alpha cell tumor. Since glucagon may be metabolized by the kidneys, chronic renal failure or kidney transplant rejection has the potential to cause increased glucagon levels . Decreased glucagon levels are associated with chronic pancreatitis, loss of pancreatic tissue, and idiopathic glucagon deficiency.
Interfering Circumstances. Lifestyle circumstances that may alter glucagon test results include prolonged fasting or moderate to heavy exercise. Therapeutic interventions that alter glucagon test results consist of radioactive scans within forty-eight hours of testing ; drugs such as insulin and glucocorticoids that may increase glucagon levels; and drugs such as secretin and propranolol that may decrease glucagon levels.
Normal Range: 50-200 pg/mL
Lab units Conversion Calculator. Convert Glucagon level to ng/L, ng/dL, ng/100mL, ng%, pg/mL. Clinical laboratory units online conversion from conventional or traditional units to Si units. Table of conversion factors for Glucagon.