Our researchers have found a way to activate a fuel gauge in the brain that could help in the development of new treatments to prevent low blood sugars.
After experiencing lots of hypos some people can also lose the ability to sense when their blood sugars are low. This is called hypo unawareness and it can extremely frightening and dangerous. We urgently need new treatments that help to prevent hypos and restore hypo awareness.
Switching on the brain-pancreas link
Dr Beall has been studying an energy sensing molecule, called AMPK. AMPK switches on when our body’s fuel levels are low, like in a hypo. It helps us to conserve fuel and to generate new energy, by making us feel hungry and breaking down fat stores.
The researchers ran experiments on specialised glucose-sensing brain cells grown in the lab. They found the new drug, called R481, can activate AMPK – our brain's fuel gauge. They then found that in rats, the drug boosts the body’s natural hormonal defence against hypos, by helping the pancreas to release more glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar.