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Endocrinology. 2007 Apr;148(4):1928-32. Epub 2007 Jan 11.

Glucokinase regulates reproductive function, glucocorticoid secretion, food intake, and hypothalamic gene expression.

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  • 1Fishberg Center for Neuroscience and Department of Geriatrics, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, 1 Gustave Levy Place, New York, New York 10029-6574, USA.


Because appetite, hypothalamic gene expression, reproductive function, and adrenal function are highly sensitive to acute changes in plasma glucose levels, it has been hypothesized hypothalamic neurons sensitive to glucose play a role in regulating these functions. To assess this hypothesis, we examined these neuronendocrine functions in mice in which the glucokinase gene, which plays an essential role in neuroendocrine glucose sensing, has been ablated. Haploinsufficiency in heterozygous glucokinase knockout mice produced effects similar to those produced by hypoglycemia: impaired reproductive function, elevated plasma corticosterone, increased food intake, and hypothalamic gene expression similar to that observed in fasted or leptin-deficient obese mice (increased hypothalamic neuropeptide Y mRNA and reduced hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin mRNA). Plasma glucose was elevated 2-fold in glucokinase knockout mice, consistent with a maturity-onset diabetes of the young phenotype, but plasma insulin and leptin levels were normal. These data support the hypothesis that glucokinase plays a key role in the neuroendocrine regulation of metabolic economy.

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