Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New clues to help diabetes and hypoglycemia

26.09.2002


University of Melbourne scientists have found clues to why patients with insulin-dependent diabetes are often unable to sense their need to take life-saving glucose.



The evidence came from a known and potent appetite stimulant released by the brain called Neuropeptide Y (NPY). Studies using diabetic rats have shown the NPY levels in the brains of diabetic rats differ significantly to those of normal rats under conditions of low glucose.

It was known that specific nerves in the brain sense the levels of glucose in the body.


"But how these nerves operate and how the brain tells us we need to eat or we are full, which can help maintain glucose levels, has remained a mystery. Understanding these mechanisms is a major goal of diabetes research," says University of Melbourne pharmacologist Associate Professor Margaret Morris who led the research.

"Our research has provided some insight into these mechanisms and should lead to a better understanding and, ultimately, management of diabetes and hypoglycemia, the life threatening condition faced by diabetics when their blood glucose gets too low," she says.

The study is published in the latest edition of Diabetologia and is supported by the US-based Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the world’s largest funder of research into diabetes.

Previous clinical research had shown that a long-term program of multiple daily insulin injections can protect against the complications of type-1 diabetes such as blindness and kidney failure. The aim of the program is to drive down the high blood glucose levels, characteristic of diabetes, closer to that of non-diabetic individuals.

Normally we keep a relatively constant level of blood glucose by the pancreas constantly adjusting the amount of insulin it releases. A diabetes, blood sugar can only be controlled by injections of insulin. This causes a series of highs and lows in blood glucose. The problem with such an intensive program of insulin injection is that the lows experienced can often be too low placing the person at risk of hypoglycemia.

Studies have shown that people with repeated exposure to hypoglycemic conditions become desensitised to the body’s triggers that inform us we are in this predicament. In the case of NPY, this trigger would be the desire to eat, which would restore blood sugar levels.

The University of Melbourne study compared diabetic and normal rats’ brain responses after periods of low glucose, and then tested their ability to recover upon return to normal glucose levels.

The production of NPY in diabetic rats fell significantly during the period of low glucose. In contrast, the NPY levels in the normal rat remained unchanged.

A second approach looked at the levels of NPY in response to injections of insulin. This time the effects in the two groups were opposite. The normally high NPY levels in the diabetic rat decreased, while normally low NPY levels in the normal rat increased.

"As insulin lowers the blood glucose levels, a response that would normally trigger the desire to eat, it is strange that the NPY levels in diabetic rats drop, an effect that would normally suppress the need to eat," says Morris.

"We know that NPY is linked to the brains ability to sense and control the body’s levels of glucose. Our task now is to understand NPY’s exact role, why it differs in diabetes, what nerves are involved and what, if any, other sensory nerves and stimulants are involved," she says.

JDRF has just provided an additional US$55,000 to fund this research.

More information

Dr Margaret Morris
Department of Pharmacology
The University of Melbourne
Telephone +(61 3) 8344 5745
E-mail mjmorris@unimelb.edu.au

Jason Major
Media officer, Communications and Marketing
The University of Melbourne
Telephone +(61 3) 8344 0181 or 0421 641 506
Fax +(61 3) 9349 4135
E-mail jmajor@unimelb.edu.au

Jason Major | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unimelb.edu.au/news/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Why might reading make myopic?
18.07.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>