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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Dec;24(12):616-24. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Sep 21.

Influence of VMH fuel sensing on hypoglycemic responses.

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Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Hypoglycemia produces complex neural and hormonal responses that restore glucose levels to normal. Glucose, metabolic substrates and their transporters, neuropeptides and neurotransmitters alter the firing rate of glucose-sensing neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH); these monitor energy status and regulate the release of neurotransmitters that instigate a suitable counter-regulatory response. Under normal physiological conditions, these mechanisms maintain blood glucose concentrations within narrow margins. However, antecedent hypoglycemia and diabetes can lead to adaptations within the brain that impair counter-regulatory responses. Clearly, the mechanisms employed to detect and regulate the response to hypoglycemia, and the pathophysiology of defective counter-regulation in diabetes, are complex and need to be elucidated to permit the development of therapies that prevent or reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.


brain; diabetes; glucose sensing; hypoglycemia; recurrent hypoglycemia; ventromedial hypothalamus

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