Research Round Up
Research Round Up - hypoglycemia and genetics, the brain, and the cardiovascular system
Martin Gilmour of the Diabetic Hypoglycemia Editorial Team
Diabetic Hypoglycemia September 2008, Volume 1, Issue 2: page 11-12
This issue’s research round up focuses on new research in the topics of hypoglycemia and genetics, hypoglycemia and the brain, and hypoglycemia and the cardiovascular system.
The authors of two recent papers aim to identify genetic contributions that could render patients with type 1 diabetes more likely to develop impaired awareness of hypoglycemia. If confirmed, this information might enable physicians to identify at-risk patients and provide more targeted pharmacological or non-pharmacological interventions.
In the first of these studies, Schouwenberg et al test the hypothesis that impaired awareness of hypoglycemia is more common among patients who are homozygous for the Gly16 variant of the beta2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2). Physiological stress produces an elevation of plasma adrenaline (epinephrine) which acts through the adrenergic receptor (ADR) to produce the classical ‘fight or flight’ response. Previous work had suggested that repeated physiological stress desensitizes the ADR, and that individuals who are homozygous for Gly16 may be more susceptible to desensitization. As hypoglycemia is a physiological stress that produces a marked elevation in adrenaline, the authors hypothesized that a similar effect might be seen following recurrent hypoglycemia.