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Sensors 2010, 10(10), 9002-9025; doi:10.3390/s101009002
Review

Glucose Sensing Neurons in the Ventromedial Hypothalamus

Received: 10 August 2010 / Revised: 15 September 2010 / Accepted: 18 September 2010 / Published: 8 October 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glucose Sensors)
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Abstract

Neurons whose activity is regulated by glucose are found in a number of brain regions. Glucose-excited (GE) neurons increase while glucose-inhibited (GI) neurons decrease their action potential frequency as interstitial brain glucose levels increase. We hypothesize that these neurons evolved to sense and respond to severe energy deficit (e.g., fasting) that threatens the brains glucose supply. During modern times, they are also important for the restoration of blood glucose levels following insulin-induced hypoglycemia. Our data suggest that impaired glucose sensing by hypothalamic glucose sensing neurons may contribute to the syndrome known as hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure in which the mechanisms which restore euglycemia following hypoglycemia become impaired. On the other hand, increased responses of glucose sensing neurons to glucose deficit may play a role in the development of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and obesity. This review will discuss the mechanisms by which glucose sensing neurons sense changes in interstitial glucose and explore the roles of these specialized glucose sensors in glucose and energy homeostasis.
Keywords: glucose-excited neurons; glucose-inhibited neurons; insulin; leptin; obesity; diabetes; hypoglycemia; hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure; fasting glucose-excited neurons; glucose-inhibited neurons; insulin; leptin; obesity; diabetes; hypoglycemia; hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure; fasting
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Routh, V.H. Glucose Sensing Neurons in the Ventromedial Hypothalamus. Sensors 2010, 10, 9002-9025.

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