Molecular and functional changes in glucokinase expression in the brainstem dorsal vagal complex in a murine model of type 1 diabetes

K. C. Halmos, P. Gyarmati, H. Xu, S. Maimaiti, G. Jancsó, G. Benedek, B. N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Glucose concentration changes in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) affect visceral function and metabolism by influencing central vagal circuits, especially inhibitory, GABAergic NTS neurons. Acutely elevated glucose can alter NTS neuron activity, and prolonged hyperglycemia and hypoinsulemia in animal models of type 1 diabetes results in plasticity of neural responses in the NTS. NTS neurons contributing to metabolic regulation therefore act as central glucose sensors and are functionally altered in type 1 diabetes. Glucokinase (GCK) mediates cellular utilization of glucose, linking increased glucose concentration to excitability changes mediated by ATP-sensitive K+ channels (KATP). Using quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blot, and in vitro electrophysiology, we tested the hypothesis that changes in GCK expression in the NTS accompany the development of diabetes symptoms in the streptozotocin (STZ)-treated mouse model of type 1 diabetes. After several days of hyperglycemia in STZ-treated mice, RNA expression of GCK, but not Kir6.2 or SUR1, was decreased versus controls in the dorsal vagal complex. Electrophysiological recordings in vitro indicated that neural responses to acute hyperglycemia, and synaptic responsiveness to blockade of GCK with glucosamine, were attenuated in GABAergic NTS neurons from STZ-treated mice, consistent with reduced molecular and functional expression of GCK in the vagal complex of hyperglycemic, STZ-treated mice. Altered autonomic responses to glucose in type 1 diabetes may therefore involve reduced functional GCK expression in the dorsal vagal complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IBRO.


  • GABA neuron
  • Hyperglycemia
  • K channel
  • Nucleus tractus solitarius
  • Postsynaptic current
  • Vagus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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