Tag Archives: Brain

How Should We Think About the Role of the Brain in Glucose Homeostasis and Diabetes?

Diabetes Journal current issue





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Brain GLUT4 Knockout Mice Have Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Decreased Insulin Sensitivity, and Impaired Hypoglycemic Counterregulation

GLUT4 in muscle and adipose tissue is important in maintaining glucose homeostasis. However, the role of insulin-responsive GLUT4 in the central nervous system has not been well characterized. To assess its importance, a selective knockout of brain GLUT4 (BG4KO) was generated by crossing Nestin-Cre mice with GLUT4-floxed mice. BG4KO mice had a 99% reduction in GLUT4 protein expression throughout the brain. Despite normal feeding and fasting glycemia, BG4KO mice were glucose intolerant, demonstrated hepatic insulin resistance, and had reduced glucose uptake in the brain. In response to hypoglycemia, BG4KO mice had impaired glucose sensing, noted by impaired epinephrine and glucagon responses and impaired c-fos activation in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. Moreover, in vitro glucose sensing of glucose-inhibitory neurons from the ventromedial hypothalamus was impaired in BG4KO mice. In summary, BG4KO mice are glucose intolerant, insulin resistant, and have impaired glucose sensing, indicating a critical role for brain GLUT4 in sensing and responding to changes in blood glucose.

Diabetes Journal current issue





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Illuminating the Effects of Stroke on the Diabetic Brain: Insights From Imaging Neural and Vascular Networks in Experimental Animal Models

Type 1 diabetes is known to cause circulatory problems in the eyes, heart, and limbs, and the brain is no exception. Because of the insidious effects of diabetes on brain circulation, patients with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have an ischemic stroke and are less likely to regain functions that are lost. To provide a more mechanistic understanding of this clinically significant problem, imaging studies have focused on how stroke affects neural and vascular networks in experimental models of type 1 diabetes. The emerging picture is that diabetes leads to maladaptive changes in the cerebrovascular system that ultimately limit neuronal rewiring and recovery of functions after stroke. At the cellular and systems level, diabetes is associated with abnormal cerebral blood flow in surviving brain regions and greater disruption of the blood-brain barrier. The abnormal vascular responses to stroke can be partly attributed to aberrant vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling because genetic or pharmacological inhibition of VEGF signaling can mitigate vascular dysfunction and improve stroke recovery in diabetic animals. These experimental studies offer new insights and strategies for optimizing stroke recovery in diabetic populations.

Diabetes Journal current issue





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