Neural and Cardiac Responses to Hypoglycemia

The laboratories of Simon Fisher, MD, Owen Chan, PhD, and Candace Reno, PhD, demonstrated that brain glucose sensing was impaired in rats with recurrent hypoglycemia as a result of defective glucose and lactate metabolism within the neurons and astrocytes in the hypothalamus. The resultant abnormal release of neurotransmitters—such as GABA, glutamate and dopamine—led to inadequate activation of hormonal responses to hypoglycemia. Continue reading → Neural and Cardiac Responses to Hypoglycemia

Research Statement

Dr. Owen Chan is renowned for his research in brain glucose sensing and the central mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of hypoglycemia unawareness. His laboratory utilizes cutting-edge neuroscience techniques to study neural circuits that participate in the regulation of peripheral glucose metabolism and understand how brain metabolism is impacted by recurring exposure to hypoglycemia and diabetes. His research shows that during hypoglycemia, when glucose supplies become limited, the brain adapts to using other types of fuel substrates besides glucose to meet its metabolic needs. This in turn, prevents the brain from detecting a fall in blood glucose levels, making the patients unaware of the fact that their blood glucose levels are declining. These discoveries have paved the way to developing novel treatment strategies to reduce or prevent hypoglycemia in patients with diabetes.