The effect of vagal nerve blockade using electrical impulses on glucose metabolism in nondiabetic subjects

Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy 07/2014; 7:305-12. DOI: 10.2147/DMSO.S65733
Source: PubMed


Vagal interruption causes weight loss in humans and decreases endogenous glucose production in animals. However, it is unknown if this is due to a direct effect on glucose metabolism. We sought to determine if vagal blockade using electrical impulses alters glucose metabolism in humans.

Patients and methods
We utilized a randomized, cross-over study design where participants were studied after 2 weeks of activation or inactivation of vagal nerve blockade (VNB). Seven obese subjects with impaired fasting glucose previously enrolled in a long-term study to examine the effect of VNB on weight took part. We used a standardized triple-tracer mixed meal to enable measurement of the rate of meal appearance, endogenous glucose production, and glucose disappearance. The 550 kcal meal was also labeled with 111In-diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) to measure gastrointestinal transit. Insulin action and β-cell responsivity indices were estimated using the minimal model.

Integrated glucose, insulin, and glucagon concentrations did not differ between study days. This was also reflected in a lack of effect on β-cell responsivity and insulin action. Furthermore, fasting and postprandial endogenous glucose production, integrated meal appearance, and glucose disposal did not differ in the presence or absence of VNB. Similarly, gastric emptying and colonic transit were unchanged by VNB.

In this pilot study in nondiabetic humans, electrical vagal blockade had no acute effects on glucose metabolism, insulin secretion and action, or gastric emptying. It remains to be determined if more pronounced effects would be observed in diabetic subjects.

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Available from: James M Swain, Apr 15, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing at alarming rates. In the quest to understand the underlying causes of and to identify novel therapeutic targets to treat T2D, scientists have become increasingly reliant on the use of rodent models. Here we provide a discussion on the regulation of rodent glucose metabolism, highlighting key differences and similarities that exist between rodents and humans. In addition, some of the issues and considerations associated with assessing glucose homeostasis and insulin action are outlined. We also discuss the role of the liver versus skeletal muscle in regulating whole-body glucose metabolism in rodents, emphasizing the importance of defective hepatic glucose metabolism in the development of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and T2D.
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