It is proposed that the impaired sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia induced by recurrent insulin-induced hypoglycemia (RH) is an adaptive phenomenon induced by specific changes in microRNA expression in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH). To test this hypothesis, genome-wide microRNAomic profiling of the VMH by RNA-sequencing was performed in control rats and rats treated for RH. Differential expression analysis identified microRNA-7a-5p and microRNA-665 as potential mediators of this phenomenon. To further test this hypothesis, experiments were conducted consisting of targeted lentiviral-mediated overexpression of microRNA-7a-5p and downregulation of microRNA-665 in the VMH. Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemic clamp experiments demonstrated that targeted overexpression of microRNA-7a-5p (but not downregulation of microRNA-665) in the VMH of RH rats restored the epinephrine response to hypoglycemia. This restored response to hypoglycemia was associated with a restoration of GABAA receptor gene expression. Finally, a direct interaction of microRNA-7a-5p with the 3′-UTR of GABAA receptor α1-subunit (Gabra1) gene was demonstrated in a luciferase assay. These findings indicate that (a) the impaired sympathoadrenal response RH induces is associated with changes in VMH microRNA expression and (b) microRNA-7a-5p, possibly via direct downregulation of GABA receptor gene expression, may serve as a mediator of the altered sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia.


Rahul Agrawal, Griffin Durupt, Dinesh Verma, Michael Montgomery, Adriana Vieira-de Abreu, Casey Taylor, Sankar Swaminathan, Simon J. Fisher


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