This study evaluated the effect of stimulating the central nervous system (CNS) with neostigmine, an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, on the blood lactate concentration in fed rats and in rats fasted for 48 hours. After the rat was anesthetized with pentobarbital, neostigmine was stereotaxically injected into the third cerebral ventricle. In fed rats, the central injection of neostigmine significantly increased the blood lactate level, while concomitantly increasing plasma glucagon, epinephrine and norepinephrine concentrations. Constant infusion of somatostatin throughout the experiments, to inhibit glucagon secretion from the pancreas, did not affect alterations in blood lactate by central injection of neostigmine. In adrenodemedullated rats, CNS-stimulation by neostigmine still increased plasma norepinephrine significantly, however, the alteration in blood lactate was only one-third of that in intact rats. Intraperitoneal propranolol, but not phentolamine, prevented the rise in lactate. Neostigmine increased lactate in fasted rats as well as in fed rats. We conclude that in anesthetized rats, stimulation of the CNS by neostigmine increases blood lactate mainly through circulating epinephrine and partially through circulating norepinephrine or direct sympathetic nervous stimulation; glucagon does not appear to be involved in the increase in blood lactate.
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