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The latest research shows that brain memory signals are related to blood sugar levels

The latest research shows that brain memory signals are related to blood sugar levels

According to foreign media reports, a new study in mice found that a set of brain signals known to help memory formation may also affect blood sugar levels. Researchers from the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University have discovered that there is a special signal pattern in the area of ​​the brain called the hippocampus.

Past studies have shown that the hippocampus is related to the formation of memory. In addition, it also affects the metabolism, that is, the process by which dietary nutrients are converted into blood sugar (glucose) and supplied to cells as an energy source.



This research revolves around a type of brain cell called a neuron, which “burns” (produces electrical impulses) to transmit information. In recent years, researchers have found that neurons in the hippocampus fire each other in a cycle of several milliseconds. This firing pattern is called “spike ripples” because its shape is captured by an electroencephalogram (EEG), the brain An electrograph is a technique that uses electrodes to record brain activity.

A new study published in Nature on August 11 found that the sharp ripples in the hippocampus did indeed cause the blood sugar levels in mice to drop within a few minutes. Although the details have yet to be confirmed, research results indicate that these ripples may regulate the time when the pancreas and liver release hormones and the time when the pituitary gland releases other hormones.



“Our study shows for the first time how activated brain cell clusters in the hippocampus directly regulate metabolism,” said senior research author György Buzsáki of the paper. “We are not saying that the hippocampus is the only participant in this process, but The brain may have a say in it through sharp waves.”

Insulin is released by pancreatic cells, but it is not continuous but periodic bursts. The researchers said that since sharp wave ripples mainly occur during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, the impact of sleep disorders on sharp wave ripples may provide a way between poor sleep quality and high blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Mechanism connection.

The previous work of Buzsaki’s team showed that during non-REM sleep, sharp wave ripples are involved in the permanent storage of daily memories on the same night. A study he launched in 2019 found that mice learned when the ripples were extended by the experiment. Navigate faster in the maze.

“There is evidence that for efficiency reasons, the brain has evolved to use the same signal to achieve two distinct functions, namely memory and hormonal regulation,” said the corresponding author of the paper, Dr. David Tingley.

Dual role




Researchers claim that the hippocampus is a good candidate brain region for multiple functions because it is connected to other brain regions, and hippocampal neurons have many surface proteins (receptors) that are sensitive to hormone levels, so they can Adjust your activities as part of the feedback loop. The new findings indicate that hippocampal ripples reduce blood sugar levels as part of this cycle.

Tingley said: “Animals may first develop a system to control the release of hormones in a rhythmic cycle, but when they later develop more complex brains they will apply the same mechanism to memory.”

Research data also showed that the hippocampal ripple wave signal is transmitted to the hypothalamus, which is thought to dominate and affect the pancreas and liver, but this is through an intermediate brain structure called the lateral septum. The researchers found that the ripples may affect the lateral septum only through amplitude, rather than the order of the ripples, which may encode the memory when the signal reaches the cortex.




Consistent with this theory, short-term ripples of more than 30 times per minute in non-rapid eye movement sleep can cause a decrease in peripheral glucose levels, which are several times larger than a single ripple. Importantly, closing the side septum can eliminate the impact of hippocampal spikes on surrounding blood sugar.

In order to prove that the hippocampus discharge pattern can reduce the glucose level, the research team used a technique called optogenetics. They redesigned the hippocampus cells-including light-sensitive channels and artificially induced ripples. Illuminating these cells through glass fibers produces ripples that have nothing to do with the behavior of the mouse or the state of the brain. Similar to natural ripples, synthetic ripples reduce the sugar content.



Next, the research team will seek to expand its theory that several hormones may be affected by dramatic fluctuations at night, including through studies on human patients. Buzsaki said that future research may also reveal devices or treatments that can regulate blood sugar fluctuations and improve memory.

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