Hypoglycemia is a frequent complication of diabetes, limiting therapy and increasing morbidity and mortality. With recurrent hypoglycemia, the counterregulatory response (CRR) to decreased blood glucose is blunted, resulting in hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure (HAAF). The mechanisms leading to these blunted effects are only poorly understood. Here, we report, with ISH, IHC, and the tissue-clearing capability of iDISCO+, that growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) neurons represent a unique population of arcuate nucleus neurons activated by glucose deprivation in vivo. Repeated glucose deprivation reduces GHRH neuron activation and remodels excitatory and inhibitory inputs to GHRH neurons. We show that low glucose sensing is coupled to GHRH neuron depolarization, decreased ATP production, and mitochondrial fusion. Repeated hypoglycemia attenuates these responses during low glucose. By maintaining mitochondrial length with the small molecule mitochondrial division inhibitor-1, we preserved hypoglycemia sensitivity in vitro and in vivo. Our findings present possible mechanisms for the blunting of the CRR, significantly broaden our understanding of the structure of GHRH neurons, and reveal that mitochondrial dynamics play an important role in HAAF. We conclude that interventions targeting mitochondrial fission in GHRH neurons may offer a new pathway to prevent HAAF in patients with diabetes.
Mitchell Bayne, Alexandra Alvarsson, Kavya Devarakonda, Rosemary Li, Maria Jimenez-Gonzalez, Darline Garibay, Kaetlyn Conner, Merina Varghese, Madhavika N. Serasinghe, Jerry E. Chipuk, Patrick R. Hof, Sarah A. Stanley