Hypoglycemia is a major adverse effect of insulin therapy for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Profound defects in the normal counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia explain the frequency of hypoglycemia occurrence in T1D. Defective counterregulation results to a large extent from prior exposure to hypoglycemia per se, leading to a condition called impaired awareness of hypoglycemia (IAH); the cause of which is unknown. In the present study, we investigate the hypothesis that IAH develops through a special type of adaptive memory referred to as habituation. To test this hypothesis, we used a novel intense stimulus (high intensity exercise) to demonstrate two classical features of a habituated response, namely dishabituation and response recovery. We demonstrate that following recurrent hypoglycemia, introduction of a novel dishabituatory stimulus (a single burst of high intensity exercise) in male Sprague-Dawley rats restores the defective hypoglycemia counterregulatory response. In addition, the rats showed an enhanced response to the novel stimulus (response recovery). We make the further observation using proteomic analysis of hypothalamic extracts that high intensity exercise in recurrently hypoglycemic rats increases levels of a number of proteins linked with BDNF signaling. These findings may lead to novel therapeutic approaches for individuals with T1D and IAH.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db16-1533/-/DC1.
- Received December 12, 2016.
- Accepted February 21, 2017.
- © 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.