Ventromedial Hypothalamic Glucokinase Is an Important Mediator of the Counterregulatory Response to Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemia
ABSTRACT The counterregulatory response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia is mediated by the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), which contains specialized glucosensing neurons, many of which use glucokinase (GK) as the rate-limiting step in glucose's regulation of neuronal activity. Since conditions associated with increased VMH GK expression are associated with a blunted counterregulatory response, we tested the hypothesis that increasing VMH GK activity would similarly attenuate, while decreasing GK activity would enhance the counterregulatory response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia.
The counterregulatory response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia was evaluated in Sprague-Dawley rats after bilateral VMH injections of 1) a GK activator drug (compound A) to increase VMH GK activity, 2) low-dose alloxan (4 mug) to acutely inhibit GK activity, 3) high-dose alloxan (24 microg), or 4) an adenovirus expressing GK short hairpin RNA (shRNA) to chronically reduce GK expression and activity.
Compound A increased VMH GK activity sixfold in vitro and reduced the epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glucagon responses to insulin-induced hypoglycemia by 40-62% when injected into the VMH in vivo. On the other hand, acute and chronic reductions of VMH GK mRNA or activity had a lesser and more selective effect on increasing primarily the epinephrine response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia by 23-50%.
These studies suggest that VMH GK activity is an important regulator of the counterregulatory response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia and that a drug that specifically inhibited the rise in hypothalamic GK activity after insulin-induced hypoglycemia might improve the dampened counterregulatory response seen in tightly controlled diabetic subjects.
- SourceAvailable from: Hollian R Phillipps
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- "Similar to its role in pancreatic beta-cells, glucokinase appears to act as a critical glucose sensor in a substantial proportion of these VMN neurons (Kang et al. 2006). Glucose-sensing neurons play a critical role in regulating release of counter-regulatory hormones, such as glucagon, in response to hypoglycemia (Borg et al. 1995, 1997; Levin et al. 2008). In situations such as diet-induced obesity, where there is defective central counter-regulatory response to hypoglycemia, VMN glucokinase mRNA expression is increased (Dunn-Meynell et al. 2002). "
ABSTRACT: Hyperphagia and weight gain to acquire energy stores for development and growth of the fetus and to prepare for the demands of lactation are important adaptations to support a healthy pregnancy. As a consequence, hypothalamic leptin resistance develops to enable maintenance of a positive energy state. During pregnancy there is a decrease in leptin receptor expression and reduced leptin-induced phospho signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (pSTAT3) in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMN), suggesting that the VMN is a key site of pregnancy-induced modification in the control of energy homeostasis. The aim of this study was to investigate expression levels of known gene targets, which are involved in metabolic regulation and glucosensing, within the VMN during pregnancy. Using in situ hybridization, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activated polypeptide (Pacap), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf), and glucokinase messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression were localized in the hypothalamus of nonpregnant and day 14 pregnant rats, then expression levels were compared by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) using laser capture microdissection of the VMN and arcuate nucleus. Despite significantly elevated plasma leptin and insulin concentrations, and lower blood glucose levels, during pregnancy, no significant changes in gene expression of Pacap, Bdnf, or glucokinase were detected between nonpregnant and day 14 pregnant groups. These data suggest that loss of leptin and insulin sensitivity in the VMN might allow gene expression to be maintained at normal/control levels in this nucleus, despite marked changes in the levels of these important regulatory hormones. These data provide further evidence for development of leptin resistance in the VMN as an adaptive response during pregnancy.11/2013; 1(6):e00162. DOI:10.1002/phy2.162
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- "The robust feeding response seen in our rats with VMH 5TG injections further supports a role for VMH glucosensing in glucoprivic feeding. Taken together with previous studies demonstrating the importance of the VMH (Borg et al., 1994; Borg et al., 1995; Borg et al., 1997), and particularly VMH GK activity and glucosensing in producing the counterregulatory neuroendocrine responses to glucopenia and hypoglycemia (Tkacs et al., 2000; Dunn-Meynell et al., 2002; Kang et al., 2008; Levin et al., 2008), the current studies support VMH glucosensing as a mediator of both the behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to systemic glucoprivation. Among the VMH glucosensing neurons, the orexigenic ARC neuropeptide Y neurons are a likely candidate as an effector of this feeding since they, express GK mRNA (Dunn-Meynell et al., 2002), are activated by hypoglycemia (Muroya et al., 1999; Fioramonti et al., 2007) and NPY-deficient mice have defective glucoprivic feeding.(Sindelar "
ABSTRACT: Although several studies implicate small declines in blood glucose levels as stimulus for spontaneous meal initiation, no mechanism is known for how these dips might initiate feeding. To assess the role of ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) (arcuate plus ventromedial nucleus) glucosensing neurons as potential mediators of spontaneous and glucoprivic feeding, meal patterns were observed, and blood and VMH microdialysis fluid were sampled in 15 rats every 10 min for 3.5 h after dark onset and 2 h after insulin (5 U/kg, i.v.) infusion. Blood glucose levels declined by 11% beginning approximately 5 min before 65% of all spontaneous meals, with no fall in VMH levels. After insulin, blood and VMH glucose reached nadirs by 30-40 min, and the same rats ate 60% faster and spent 84% more time eating during the ensuing hypoglycemia. Although 83% of first hypoglycemic meals were preceded by 5 min dips in VMH (but not blood) glucose levels, neither blood nor VMH levels declined before second meals, suggesting that low glucose, rather than changing levels, was the stimulus for glucoprivic meals. Furthermore, altering VMH glucosensing by raising or lowering glucokinase (GK) activity failed to affect spontaneous feeding, body or adipose weights, or glucose tolerance. However, chronic depletion by 26-70% of VMH GK mRNA reduced glucoprivic feeding. Thus, although VMH glucosensing does not appear to be involved in either spontaneous feeding or long-term body-weight regulation, it does participate in glucoprivic feeding, similar to its role in the counter-regulatory neurohumoral responses to glucoprivation.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2009; 29(21):7015-22. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0334-09.2009 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurons in the ventromedial and arcuate hypothalamic nuclei (VMN and ARC, respectively) mediate many of leptin's effects on energy homeostasis. Some are also glucosensing, whereby they use glucose as a signaling molecule to regulate their firing rate. We used fura-2 calcium (Ca2+) imaging to determine the interactions between these two important mediators of peripheral metabolism on individual VMN neurons and the mechanisms by which leptin regulates neuronal activity in vitro. Leptin excited 24%, inhibited 20%, and had a biphasic response in 10% of VMN neurons. Excitation occurred with a EC50 of 5.2 fmol/liter and inhibition with a IC50 of 4.2 fmol/liter. These effects were independent of the ambient glucose levels, and both glucosensing and non-glucosensing neurons were affected by leptin. In contrast, the ARC showed a very different distribution of leptin-responsive neurons, with 40% leptin excited, 10% leptin inhibited, and 2% having a biphasic response (chi2=60.2; P<0.0001). Using pharmacological manipulations we found that leptin inhibits VMN neurons via activation of phosphoinositol-3 kinase and activation of the ATP-sensitive K+ channel. In addition, leptin inhibition was antagonized by 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase activation in 39% of neurons but was unaffected by 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase inhibition. No mechanism was delineated for leptin-induced excitation. Thus, within the physiological range of brain glucose levels, leptin has a differential effect on VMN vs. ARC neurons, and acts on both glucosensing and non-glucosensing VMN neurons in a glucose-independent fashion with inhibition primarily dependent upon activation of the ATP-sensitive K+ channel.Endocrinology 06/2008; 149(10):5146-54. DOI:10.1210/en.2008-0357 · 4.64 Impact Factor