According to a Fierce Biotech Research article, researchers have discovered an area of the brain that is in charge of communicating with the rest of the body about hypoglycemia.
Like many scientific discoveries, this one came as a bit of a surprise. A team of international researchers set out to study a previously untapped area of neurons in the parabrachial nucleus of the brain. They found the neurons had a very different job than they thought, said researcher Dr. Martin G. Myers, Jr. in an email interview with Insulin Nation.
“We had thought they would be involved in suppressing appetite, but it turned out that they…mediate the response to low blood sugar,” Dr. Myers said.
The neurons responded to leptin, a hormone that stimulates the body to consume the fat it has stored in order to gain energy. These neurons respond more dramatically to low blood sugar when fat stores are low.
Scientists want to learn more about how these neurons work to find ways to help people with diabetes who become physiologically unaware of hypoglycemia. The next step will be to see how these neurons interact with other cells, and if drugs can be developed to control the behavior of these neurons.
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