Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Einstein study indicates brain plays role in regulating blood sugar in humans

08.11.2011
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have demonstrated for the first time that the brain is a key player in regulating glucose (sugar) metabolism in humans. The findings, published today in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest that drugs targeting the brain and central nervous system could be a novel approach to treating diabetes.

"The brain is the body's only organ that needs a constant supply of glucose to survive, so it makes sense that it would have some say over how much glucose is produced," said study leader Meredith Hawkins, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Global Diabetes Initiative at Einstein. "This role for the brain was demonstrated in earlier Einstein studies in rodents, but there was considerable controversy over whether the results could be applied to humans. We hope this study helps to settle the matter."

In an earlier study in rodents, Einstein researchers showed that activation of potassium channels in the brain's hypothalamus sends signals to the liver that dampen its production of glucose. Those findings, published in Nature in 2005, challenged the conventional thinking that blood sugar production by the liver (the body's glucose factory) is regulated only by the pancreas (which makes insulin to metabolize glucose). But carefully performed studies on dogs, conducted at Vanderbilt University, failed to replicate the results, suggesting the Einstein findings in rodents might not be relevant to higher mammals, including humans.

The current Einstein study, involving people, was aimed at resolving this controversy. Ten nondiabetic subjects were given oral diazoxide, a drug that activates potassium channels in the hypothalamus. (The drug is not used to treat diabetes.) Hormone secretion by the pancreas was controlled to ensure that any change in sugar production would only have occurred through the drug's effect on the brain. After the researchers administered the drug, blood tests revealed that patients' livers were producing significantly less glucose than before.

Dr. Hawkins and her team then repeated this in rats, again giving diazoxide orally, achieving similar results. They confirmed that sufficient amounts of diazoxide crossed the blood-brain barrier to affect potassium channels in the hypothalamus. Additional experiments confirmed that diazoxide was working through the brain. Specifically, the researchers were able to completely block the effects of diazoxide by infusing a specific potassium channel blocker directly into the brain.

"This study confirms that the brain plays a significant role in regulating glucose production by the liver," said lead author Preeti Kishore, M.B.B.S., assistant professor of medicine. "We are now investigating whether this 'brain-to-liver' pathway is impaired in people with diabetes. If so, we may be able to restore normal glucose regulation by targeting potassium channels in the brain."

The paper is titled "Activation of KATP channels suppresses glucose production in humans." Other contributors include Laura Boucai, M.D., Kehao Zhang, M.D., D.D.S., Weijie Li, M.D., Sudha Koppaka, M.D., Sylvia Kehlenbrink, M.D., Anna Schiwek, M.D., Yonah Esterson, Deeksha Mehta, M.D., Samar Bursheh, M.D., Ya Su, M.D., Roger Gutierrez-Juarez, M.D., Ph.D., Radhika Muzumdar, M.D., and Gary Schwartz, Ph.D.

About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2009-2010 academic year, Einstein is home to 722 M.D. students, 243 Ph.D.students, 128 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and approximately 350 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has 2,775 fulltime faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2009, Einstein received more than $155 million in support from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Through its extensive affiliation network involving five medical centers in the Bronx, Manhattan and Long Island - which includes Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein - the College of Medicine runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 150 residency programs to more than 2,500 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu

Kim Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.einstein.yu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>