Research ArticleDiabetes

Striatal dopamine regulates systemic glucose metabolism in humans and mice

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Science Translational Medicine  23 May 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 442, eaar3752
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aar3752

A stimulating therapy for diabetes

Blood glucose concentration is controlled by the hormone insulin. In patients with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance leads to elevated blood glucose concentration and increased risk of developing cardiovascular disorders. The brain has been shown to participate in glucose metabolism; however, whether and how modulation of brain activity affects systemic blood concentrations of glucose is poorly understood. ter Horst et al. show that in diabetic and nondiabetic patients, striatal dopamine release induced by deep brain electrical stimulation of the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule improved insulin sensitivity. Conversely, pharmacological systemic dopamine depletion reduced the insulin-mediated blood glucose uptake. The findings open up a potential avenue for treating pharmacoresistant type 2 diabetes.

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