Musings on the wanderer: What's new in our understanding of vago-vagal reflexes? VI. Central vagal circuits that control glucose metabolism

Soledad Pitra, Bret N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neurons in the brain stem dorsal vagal complex (DVC) take part in a continuous bidirectional crosstalk, in which they receive and respond to a vast array of signaling molecules, including glucose. Importantly, chronic dysregulation of blood glucose concentration, a hallmark of high prevalence pathologies, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome, can induce neuroplasticity in DVC neural networks, which is hypothesized to either contribute to or compensate for the glycemic or insulinemic dysregulation observed in these conditions. Here, we revisit the topic of vagal reflexes to review recent research on the importance of DVC function in regulating systemic glucose homeostasis and the neuroplastic changes in this brain region that are associated with systemic glucose alterations. We also discuss the critical connection between these nuclei and the gut and the role of central vagal circuits in the favorable outcomes associated with bariatric surgical procedures for metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G175-G182
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Volume320
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 the American Physiological Society.

Keywords

  • Diabetes
  • Dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus
  • Glucose
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Nucleus tractus solitarius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)

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