Recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia impair sympathoadrenal counterregulatory responses (CRRs) to a subsequent episode of hypoglycemia. For individuals with type 1 diabetes, this markedly increases (by 25-fold) the risk of severe hypoglycemia and is a major limitation to optimal insulin therapy. The mechanisms through which this maladaptive response occurs remain unknown. The corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) family of neuropeptides and their receptors (CRFR1 and CRFR2) play a critical role in regulating the neuroendocrine stress response. Here we show in the Sprague-Dawley rat that direct in vivo application to the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), a key glucose-sensing region, of urocortin I (UCN I), an endogenous CRFR2 agonist, suppressed (approximately 55-60%), whereas CRF, a predominantly CRFR1 agonist, amplified (approximately 50-70%) CRR to hypoglycemia. UCN I was shown to directly alter the glucose sensitivity of VMH glucose-sensing neurons in whole-cell current clamp recordings in brain slices. Interestingly, the suppressive effect of UCN I-mediated CRFR2 activation persisted for at least 24 hours after in vivo VMH microinjection. Our data suggest that regulation of the CRR is largely determined by the interaction between CRFR2-mediated suppression and CRFR1-mediated activation in the VMH.
McCrimmon, R. J., Song, Z., Cheng, H., McNay, E. C., Weikart-Yeckel, C., Fan, X., Routh, V. H., & Sherwin, R. S. (2006). Corticotrophin-releasing factor receptors within the ventromedial hypothalamus regulate hypoglycemia-induced hormonal counterregulation. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 116(6), 1723-1730. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI27775