Role for Carotid Bodies in Glucose Metabolism in Humans

In a novel series of investigations and in close collaboration with Michael J. Joyner, M.D., of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Mayo Clinic, the Integrated Carbohydrate Physiology and Translation Laboratory has successfully established the singular role of the carotid bodies as a prominent player in glucose counterregulation during hypoglycemia in people with and people without type 1 diabetes.

Through these investigations, Dr. Ananda Basu and Dr. Rita Basu have discovered that hyperoxia blunts secretion of counterregulatory hormones in response to hypoglycemia.

Preliminary experiments conducted in people with bilateral carotid body resections have confirmed carotid bodies as the central site of the crosstalk between blood glucose and blood oxygen levels.

Ongoing experiments will determine the translational role of the carotid bodies in people with type 1 diabetes with and people without hypoglycemia awareness.

People who lack hypoglycemia awareness don't recognize when they have low blood sugar and are unable to respond by eating or drinking sugary substances when their blood sugars fall to dangerously low levels. This research will pave the way for therapies aimed at treating this lack of hypoglycemia awareness.