Size of Mitochondria Plays Crucial Role in Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels

b29f309c-2cef-4533-a406-f5e007a4693earticleimage.jpg

17 Feb 2017 --- Yale School of Medicine researchers have found that changes in the size of mitochondria in a small subset of brain cells play a crucial role in safely maintaining blood sugar levels. 

Keeping blood sugar levels within a safe range is key to managing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and the researchers hope that the new finding will lead to fewer complications for diabetes patients.

“Low blood sugar can be as dangerous as high blood sugar,” said senior author Sabrina Diano, professor in the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Neuroscience, and Comparative Medicine.

“We've found that changes in the size of mitochondria - small intracellular organelles responsible for energy production - in certain cells in the brain, could be key to maintaining the blood sugar within a safe range.”

“This new finding adds to our understanding of how the body keeps blood sugar levels within a safe range when sugar levels drop, like during fasting, or when they spike after a meal,” Diano added.

Diano and her research team designed the study to help understand how neurons in the brain that regulate appetite affect systemic glucose levels. The team used mouse models in which a specific mitochondrial protein, dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), was either missing or present in varying amounts in the subset of brain cells that sense circulating sugar levels.

The researchers found that depending on whether the mouse was hungry or not, mitochondria displayed dynamic changes in size and shape, driven by the DRP1 protein.

“We found that when DRP1 activity in the neurons was missing, these neurons were more sensitive to changes in glucose levels,” said Diano, who is also a member of the Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism and the director of the Reproductive Neuroscience Group at Yale University School of Medicine.

“What surprised our research team was that these intracellular changes in this small subset of neurons were specifically important to increase blood sugar levels during a fasting period by activating the so-called counter-regulatory responses to hypoglycemia, in which the brain senses lower glucose levels and sends signals to peripheral organs such as the liver to increase glucose production.”

Diano said the findings suggest that alterations in this mechanism may be critical for the development of hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure (HAAF), a complication of several diabetes treatments occurring most often in people with type 1 diabetes who must take insulin for survival.

Diano's research team will now focus on assessing how mitochondrial morphological changes relate to mitochondrial function in this subset of neurons in the development of HAAF.

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Benefits of coffee consumption noted in BMJ amid coffee’s strong showing in marketplace

23 Nov 2017 --- Drinking coffee is “more likely to benefit health than to harm it” for a range of health outcomes, according to researchers in The BMJ today. The researchers’ findings only enhance a good period for coffee products, as Innova Market Insights’ top trends for 2018 note that coffee is clearly trending, especially among Millennial and Generation Z consumers.

Nutrition & Health News

Low-salt and DASH diet as effective as drugs for some adults with high blood pressure: study

23 Nov 2017 --- A study of adults with prehypertension, or stage 1 high blood pressure, has shown that combining a low-salt diet with the heart-healthy DASH diet substantially lowers systolic blood pressure – the top number in a blood pressure test – especially in people with higher baseline systolic readings.

Nutrition & Health News

Vitamin D levels could help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis from setting in

22 Nov 2017 --- Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, research led by the University of Birmingham in the UK has discovered. The research also found that vitamin D is not as effective once inflammatory disease is established because diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis lead to vitamin D insensitivity.

Business News

Fermentalg announces signing of distribution agreement for DHA-rich oils and Q3 2017 successes

21 Nov 2017 --- French microalgae specialist Fermentalg has signed a first distribution agreement for algal oils with specialty chemicals and food ingredients company IMCD Group. The news comes as Fermentalg publishes its business review for the third quarter of 2017, with highlights including its strategic partnership with DIC Corporation in pigments and successfully raising €12.6 million (US$14.8 million) in funds as part of a capital increase.

Nutrition & Health News

App aims to boost vegetable consumption as majority of adults’ intake found to fall short

21 Nov 2017 --- Scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have taken an innovative approach to tackling the issue of low levels of vegetable intake in Australia by launching a new app that challenges people to eat more vegetables. Using a gamified approach, CSIRO’s new VegEze app aims to motivate Australians to add extra vegetables to their daily diets and form long-term, healthier habits through its 21-day “Do 3 at Dinner” challenge.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/Size-of-Mitochondria-Plays-Crucial-Role-in-Maintaining-Blood-Sugar-Levels.html?tracking=Nutrition%20and%20Health%20News