The Ultimate Glucose Monitor

Science's STKE  09 Aug 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 296, pp. tw291
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2962005tw291

The brain, particularly the hypothalamus, controls liver glucose production, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the brain senses glucose levels have been unclear. Lam et al. now show that, in rats, this process requires the conversion of glucose in the hypothalamus to lactate, which in turn stimulates pyruvate metabolism and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. Alterations in ATP levels control neuronal excitability through effects on ATP-sensitive potassium channels, which have been implicated in glucose output by the liver. The elucidation of this metabolic regulatory loop may lead to new pharmacological interventions that could restore regulation of blood glucose in diabetes.

T. K. T. Lam, R. Gutierrez-Juarez, A. Pocai, L. Rossetti, Regulation of blood glucose by hypothalamic pyruvate metabolism. Science 309, 943-947 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]