For somebody with sort 1 diabetes, it is crucial they take a look at their blood sugar ranges usually, and insulin is utilized to maintain blood sugar regulated. However even underneath one of the best regulation strategies, these people nonetheless expertise life-threatening intervals of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, every so often. These hypoglycemic episodes make scientific administration of blood sugar in diabetes sufferers difficult, and over time, even delicate to reasonable hypoglycemia may cause severe hurt.

Nonetheless, because of a Nationwide Institute of Well being grant, Dr. David McDougal, assistant professor within the Neurobiology of Metabolic Dysfunction Laboratory on the Pennington Biomedical Analysis Heart, seeks to higher perceive why folks with diabetes develop hypoglycemia, and his analysis is concentrated on discovering higher therapies that can be utilized to stop it.

Dr. McDougal was just lately awarded a 5 yr, $1.8M grant from NIH to help his analysis undertaking titled, “Evaluating the function of hypoleptinemia in impaired counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia.”

There are at the moment no FDA-approved therapies solely directed on the prevention of hypoglycemic issues in folks with diabetes. Thus, the one option to cut back hypoglycemia is thru behavioral modification, reminiscent of short-term changes in insulin doses, which may result in undesirable will increase in blood sugar. Our undertaking will have a look at the function leptin performs in regulating the physique’s response to hypoglycemia.” Dr. David McDougal, Assistant Professor within the Neurobiology of Metabolic Dysfunction Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Analysis Heart

Leptin is a hormone that’s launched from physique fats, and it regulates physique weight by controlling starvation. Throughout hunger, leptin ranges fall dramatically, and this results in a wide range of physiological modifications within the physique. Dr. McDougal proposes that different stimuli that decrease leptin ranges, reminiscent of train and alcohol consumption, could trigger individuals with diabetes to be extra susceptible to hypoglycemia by evoking a state of “pseudostarvation.”

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“There’s a vital information hole concerning how publicity to well-known threat components trigger elevated ranges of hypoglycemia in individuals with diabetes,” Dr. McDougal stated. “Our analysis undertaking is design to check whether or not interventions that stop the transition to a ‘hunger’ state might cut back how typically folks with diabetes expertise hypoglycemia, due to this fact serving to to develop new therapies for stopping low blood glucose in these sufferers.”

Dr. McDougal’s analysis might determine the primary endocrine mechanism driving hypoglycemic threat, whereas additionally figuring out a novel therapy choice for the prevention of hypoglycemia. There are FDA-approved leptin-replacement therapies obtainable for therapy of different illnesses, and with this analysis, it could possibly be potential that these therapies could possibly be repurposed for the therapy and prevention of hypoglycemic issues in folks with diabetes.

“Dr. McDougal’s lab is concentrated on translating fundamental analysis findings into sensible interventions that may be utilized to scale back the burden of hypoglycemia issues, and in flip, enhance affected person outcomes,” stated Dr. John Kirwan, Government Director of Pennington Biomedical. “With this new grant funding, Dr. McDougal will work towards bettering the day-to-day life-style of individuals with sort 1 diabetes. We applaud this novel strategy and sit up for seeing the place the analysis takes him.”

This grant is supported by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being underneath award quantity R01 DK131165. The content material is solely the accountability of the authors and doesn’t essentially signify the official views of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being.