The Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Modulates the Sensitivity of Arcuate Nucleus to Hypoglycemia in the Male Rat

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The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and arcuate nucleus (ARC) have reciprocal connections; catabolic metabolic information activates the ARC and inhibits SCN neuronal activity. Little is known about the influence of the SCN on the ARC. Here, we investigated whether the SCN modulated the sensitivity of the ARC to catabolic metabolic conditions. ARC neuronal activity, as determined by c-Fos immunoreactivity, was increased after a hypoglycemic stimulus by 2-deoxyglucose (2DG). The highest ARC neuronal activity after 2DG was found at the end of the light period (zeitgeber 11, ZT11) with a lower activity in the beginning of the light period (zeitgeber 2, ZT2), suggesting the involvement of the SCN. The higher activation of ARC neurons after 2DG at ZT11 was associated with higher 2DG induced blood glucose levels as compared with ZT2. Unilateral SCN-lesioned animals, gave a mainly ipsilateral activation of ARC neurons at the lesioned side, suggesting an inhibitory role of the SCN on ARC neurons. The 2DG-induced counterregulatory glucose response correlated with increased ARC neuronal activity and was significantly higher in unilateral SCN-lesioned animals. Finally, the ARC as site where 2DG may, at least partly, induce a counterregulatory response was confirmed by local microdialysis of 2DG. 2DG administration in the ARC produced a higher increase in circulating glucose compared with 2DG administration in surrounding areas such as the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH). We conclude that the SCN uses neuronal pathways to the ARC to gate sensory metabolic information to the brain, regulating ARC glucose sensitivity and counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemic conditions.

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