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Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas, which stimulates the breakdown of glycogen and the release of glucose by the liver thereby causing an increase in blood sugar levels.

It works in direct opposition to insulin. Liver glucose is freed when the blood sugar level drops to around 70 milligrams/100 milligrams of blood. Exercise and starvation both increase glucagon levels, as does the presence of amino acids in the blood after a high protein meal. Glucagon produces smooth muscle relaxation when administered parenterally.

Hadley, M.E. 1984. Endocrinology Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey. 547.

Thomas, C.L. 1985. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. F.A. Davis Co. Pub., Philadelphia. 2170.