August Krogh Seminar

Glucagon 2016

v/ Jens Juul Holst, Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences & Scientific director at NNF Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Glucagon is an old hormone (1923) which has a firm place in the physiology textbooks where it collects dust. The truth is that we don’t know a lot about it and recent research suggests that it is extremely interesting. In a way it is simple, because in humans there are receptors only in the liver and in the islets (and the brain perhaps?)  – so how difficult can it be?

It powerfully controls hepatic glucose production and is involved in the maintenance of fasting glucose levels, but deletion of the glucagon receptor does not cause hypoglycaemia. And glucagon-producing tumors do not produce diabetes. So what happens?

The deletion causes abdominal tumor formation and the glucagon-producing tumors produce a nasty skin disease with bullae resembling burns. Therefore, it is about time that we remove the dust and get back to the lab to find out what is going on.

Research profile

Professor Jens Juul Holst scientific work has been focused on the regulatory peptides of the pancreas and the gut and their importance in the regulation of the functions of the GI-tract and metabolism, with particular focus on blood glucose and appetite regulation, obesity and diabetes. A particular emphasis has been on the role of the incretin hormones of the gut (GLP-1 and GIP). Professor Holst great scientific achievements include the discovery of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) as the gut hormone being responsible for the glucose-induced gastrointestinal stimulation of insulin secretion and his subsequent both basic and translational research in this field. His research includes a number of key discoveries which have been the direct basis for the development of two main new classes of medical drugs currently used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: GLP-1 mimetics (now also to be used for obesity treatment) and DPP-4 inhibitors. Research by Professor Holst has also been fundamental for the development of GLP-2 agonists for treatment of intestinal insufficiency (short bowel syndrome). Thus, the scientific achievements of Professor Jens Juul Holst have contributed significantly to the development of new apparently unsurpassed treatments of a currently incurable disease.

Professor Holst is among the most cited European scientists in his field. He has published approx. 1200 scientific publications which have been cited more than 55,000 times without self-citation. Currently his papers are cited approx. 3500 times a year and he has an H-index of 119. He has received several highly prestigious international prizes, among them the “Claude Bernard lecture and award” (2005), the Anders Jahre Senior Medical Prize (2013) and the Fernström Award in November 2015.


5 February 2016

14:00-15:00: Seminar and discussion
15:00-15:30: Post seminar servings and socializing


Auditorium 1, August Krogh Building, Universitetsparken 13, DK-2100 Copenhagen


Participation is free, but please register here.

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Christian Frøsig,, mobile +45 2875 1617

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