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Diabetologia. 2004 Apr;47(4):648-51.

Brain energy metabolism during hypoglycaemia in healthy and type 1 diabetic subjects.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Vienna Medical School, Austria.



This study aimed to examine brain energy metabolism during moderate insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in Type 1 diabetic patients and healthy volunteers.


Type 1 diabetic patients (mean diabetes duration 13 +/- 2.5 years; HbA1c 6.8 +/- 0.3%) and matched controls were studied before, during (0-120 min) and after (120-240 min) hypoglycaemic (approximately 3.0 mmol/l) hyperinsulinaemic (1.5 mU x kg(-1) min(-1)) clamp tests. Brain energy metabolism was assessed by in vivo 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the occipital lobe (3 Tesla, 10-cm surface coil).


During hypoglycaemia, the diabetic patients showed blunted endocrine counter-regulation. Throughout the study, the phosphocreatine:gamma-ATP ratios were lower in the diabetic patients (baseline: controls 3.08 +/- 0.29 vs diabetic patients 2.65 +/- 0.43, p<0.01; hypoglycaemia: 2.97 +/- 0.38 vs 2.60 +/- 0.35, p<0.05; recovery: 3.01 +/- 0.28 vs 2.60 +/- 0.35, p<0.01). Intracellular pH increased in both groups, being higher in diabetic patients (7.096 +/- 0.010 vs. 7.107 +/- 0.015, p<0.04), whereas intracellular magnesium concentrations decreased in both groups (controls: 377 +/- 33 vs 321 +/- 39; diabetic patients: 388 +/- 47 vs 336 +/- 68 micromol/l; p<0.05).


Despite a lower cerebral phosphocreatine:gamma-ATP ratio in Type 1 diabetic patients at baseline, this ratio does not change in control or diabetic patients during modest hypoglycaemia. However, both groups exhibit subtle changes in intracellular pH and intracellular magnesium concentrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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