Insulin and glucagon are detected in the plasma of most species early in gestation. In the fetus at term, insulin and glucagon secretion can be modified by long-term changes in glucose concentration but the responsiveness of A and B cells to glucose is lower than in the adult. The plasma insulin/glucagon molar ratio is high in the fetus at term, then decreases dramatically immediately after birth and remains low during the first hours of extrauterine life. This situation results in favored hepatic glycogen storage and prevented gluconeogenesis in utero, and sharp glycogen breakdown and active gluconeogenesis during the early postnatal period.

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