Attenuation of counterregulatory responses to recurrent hypoglycemia by active thalamic inhibition a mechanism for hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure

Ana Maria Arbelaez, William J. Powers, Tom O. Videen, Joseph L. Price, Philip E. Cryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE-Hypoglycemia, the limiting factor in the glycemic management of diabetes, is the result of the interplay of therapeutic insulin excess and compromised glycemic defenses. The key feature of the latter is an attenuated sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia that typically follows an episode of recent antecedent iatrogenic hypoglycemia, a phenomenon termed hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure (HAAF) in diabetes. We investigated the role of cerebral mechanisms in HAAF by measuring regional brain activation during recurrent hypoglycemia with attenuated counterregulatory responses and comparing it with initial hypoglycemia in healthy individuals.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-We used [ 15O]water and positron emission tomography to measure regional cerebral blood flow as a marker of brain synaptic activity during hyper-insulinemic hypoglycemic clamps (55 mg/dl [3.0 mmol/l]) in the naive condition (day 1) and after∼ 24 h of interval interprandial hypoglycemia (day 2) in nine healthy adults.RESULTS-Interval hypoglycemia produced attenuated sympa-thoadrenal, symptomatic, and other counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia on day 2, a model of HAAF. Synaptic activity in the dorsal midline thalamus during hypoglycemia was significantly greater on day 2 than day 1 (P = 0.004).CONCLUSIONS-Greater synaptic activity associated with attenuated counterregulatory responses indicates that the dorsal midline thalamus plays an active inhibitory role in reducing sympathoadrenal and symptomatic responses to hypoglycemia when previous hypoglycemia has occurred, the key feature of HAAF in diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-475
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

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