The Human Brain Plays Role In Regulating Glucose Metabolism, According To New Study
For the first time the human brain role in regulating glucose metabolism was highlighted by researchers from Einstein College Of Medicine. The results published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation today brings the possibility of diabetes future new revulutionary treatments that could target the central nervous system
The human brain is the biggest glucose consumator organ, and needs a uninterrupted glucose supply to function properly, so it is not that surprising that it can interfere with the glucose metabolism according to study leader Meredith Hawkins, professor of medicine and Global Diabetes Initiative director at Einstein College. This key role was highlighted in earlier Einstein studies on rodents, but there were many doubts if the results could be extrapolated to humans and the study aimed demonstratrating that.
In earlier studies performed on mice, Einstein research team showed that activation of membrane K channels in the hypothalamus, triggers a feedback mechanism that tells the liver to slow glucose production.
Those results were published in Nature magazine back in 2005 and changed the and changed the way in which the main glucose factory – the liver was seen until then. But further studies conducted on dogs at the Vanderbil University had not success in replicating the results, suggesting that Einstein research team conclusions could not be extrapolated to larger mammals and humans.
The actual Einstein research team study goal was demonstrating their rodents results on humans. A drug called diazoxide (which is not used for treating diabetes) was administered to ten healthy subjects, drug that leads to the opening of K channels in the hypothalamus. The resulted hormonal secretion of the pancreas was closely monitored to detect any change in glucose production that occured due to diazoxide administration. Once the drug was administered the scientists observed that the liver slowed its glucose production.
The researcher then administered diazoxide orally to rats and noted similar findings. A sufficient concentration of diazoxide passed through the blood-brain barrier and sucesfully stimulated the hypothalamus K channels. Afterwards researchers blocked the K channels using another drug administered directly into the brain.
The results confirm that the human brain actually plays a key role in regulating the liver glucose metabolism by according to Preeti Kirshore, assistant professor of medicine.
The next step is linking this brain-liver pathway with diabetes and investigating diabetic patietns for pathological changes. If so, new treatment options for diabetics that target K channels could be introduced.