From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Neuroglycopenia is a medical term that refers to a shortage of glucose (glycopenia) in the brain, usually due to hypoglycemia. Glycopenia affects the function of neurons, and alters brain function and behavior. Prolonged neuroglycopenia can result in permanent damage to the brain.
Signs and symptoms of neuroglycopenia
Compensatory responses to neuroglycopenia Most neurons have the ability to use other fuels besides glucose (e.g., lactic acid, ketones). Our knowledge of the "switchover" process is incomplete. The most severe neuroglycopenic symptoms occur with hypoglycemia caused by excess insulin because insulin reduces the availability of other fuels by suppressing ketogenesis and gluconeogenesis.A few types of specialized neurons, especially in the hypothalamus, act as glucose sensors, responding to changing levels of glucose by increasing or decreasing their firing rates. They can elicit a variety of hormonal, autonomic, and behavioral responses to neuroglycopenia. The hormonal and autonomic responses include release of counterregulatory hormones. There is some evidence that the autonomic nervous system can alter liver glucose metabolism independently of the counterregulatory hormones. Adjustment of efficiency of transfer of glucose from blood across the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system represents a third form of compensation which occurs more gradually. Levels of glucose within the central nervous system are normally lower than the blood, regulated by an incompletely understood transfer process. Chronic hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia seems to result in an increase or decrease in efficiency of transfer to maintain CNS levels of glucose within an optimal range.In both young and old patients, the brain may habituate to low glucose levels, with a reduction of noticeable symptoms, sometimes despite neuroglycopenic impairment. In insulin-dependent diabetic patients this phenomenon is termed hypoglycemia unawareness and is a significant clinical problem when improved glycemic control is attempted. Another aspect of this phenomenon occurs in type I glycogenosis, when chronic hypoglycemia before diagnosis may be better tolerated than acute hypoglycemia after treatment is underway.
Neuroglycopenia without hypoglycemia A rare metabolic disease of the blood-brain glucose transport system has been described in which severe neuroglycopenic effects occurred despite normal blood glucose levels. Low levels of glucose were discovered in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a condition referred to as hypoglycorrhacia.Perhaps a much more common example of the same phenomenon occurs in the people with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes who develop symptoms of hypoglycemia at levels of blood glucose which are normal for most people.
This article is based on an article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and is available under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.
In the Wikipedia there is a list with all authors of this article available.