Glucose Sensor in Brain Discovered: Controlling Blood-Sugar Level

diabetes

Experts at Yale School of Medicine have identified a control switch of glucose within brain that has a direct linkage with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Ventromedial nucleus (VMN, or ventromedial hypothalamus, VMH) is a nucleus of the hypothalamus that contains an enzyme called the prolyl endopeptidase. This enzyme initiates a chain of steps that assist in controlling the levels of glucose in blood stream. Researchers envision that this finding would help them in leading towards new treatments for diabetes.

The glucose sensors

The VMN have cells that act as glucose sensors. In order to identify the exact role of prolyl endopeptidase in this region of the brain, experts performed an experiment on mice that were genetically engineered with low levels of prolyl endopeptidase. They observed that lesser the quantity of enzyme higher would be the level of glucose in blood and hence more will be the chances of mice being diabetic.

Prolyl endopeptidase assists neurons

Therefore, research team concluded the importance of prolyl endopeptidase as it assists neurons in this region of the brain in identifying the glucose level in blood stream by making them sensitize to glucose. By sensing the level of glucose, the neurons convey pancreas to give out insulin, the hormone, which is responsible for maintaining ideal level of glucose thus preventing diabetes.

Researchers envision that they would like to go further in order to understand how this enzyme directs neurons to make sense of changes in glucose levels. Once they gain the insights, they would be in better position to avert and cure the both types of diabetes.

Source: Yale University

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