L5 Carbohydrate Metabolism and Control of Blood Glucose Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in L5 Carbohydrate Metabolism and Control of Blood Glucose Deck (51):

What are the functions of glucose?

A universal energy source in that it can be used by all tissues in the body to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) via glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid cycle (Krebs cycle, citric acid cycle) and oxidative phosphorylation.


What are dietary sugars and starchs digested to produce?

Monosaccharides, mainly glucose, fructose and galactose.

Fructose and galactose are converted to glucose by the liver.


Glucose being synthesized from lipids and amino acids in the liver is given what name?

(Lactate produced by glycolysis can also be converted to glucose in the liver by this process)



Give an overview of carbohydrate metabolism


What is the normal range for blood glucose?

What hormonal control is it under?

 4.5 – 6 mM

Too high =  it is brought back down by insulin.

 Too low = it is brought back up by glucagon.

Adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol and growth hormone also raise blood glucose.


What can act to raise blood glucose levels?





growth hormone


Where is glucagon secreted from?

Where is insulin secreted from?

Glucagon is secreted by the alpha-cells in the pancreas.

Insulin is secreted by the beta-cells in the pancreas.


What are the 'glucose sinks'

Adipose Tissue

Skeletal Muscle


Take up glucose to prevent hyperglycaemia

Thus there is a negative feedback relationship between blood glucose and insulin


How can the relationship between blood glucose and insulin be demonstrated?

 By the glucose tolerance test.

Drinking a solution of glucose causes a rise in blood glucose which is soon followed by a sharp peak in insulin secretion, then a slower phase of insulin release. This causes blood glucose to fall, which in turn causes insulin to fall. Both eventually return to baseline levels.



What is insulin made up of?


What is it's release stimulated by?

A large molecule comprising 2 peptide chains


  raised blood glucose concentration


  fatty acids

  sulphonylureas (drugs used to stimulate insulin release)

  e.g. gliclazide, glimepiride, and glipizide.


What is the mechanism of insulin release?

  •  B cells have a large number of glucose transporters (GLUT2) that permit a rate of glucose influx that is proportional to the blood concentration in the physiological range.
  • Once inside the cells, glucose is phosphorylated to glucose-6-phosphate by glucokinase. (rate limiting step for glucose metabolism in the beta cell and is considered the major mechanism for glucose sensing and adjustment of the amount of secreted insulin to the blood glucose levels)
  • G6P is subsequently oxidized to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which inhibits the ATP-sensitive potassium channels of the cell.
  • Closure of the potassium channels depolarizes the cell membrane, thereby opening voltage-gated calcium channels, which are sensitive to changes in membrane voltage.
  • This produces an influx of calcium that stimulates fusion of the docked insulin-containing vesicles with the cell membrane
  • Secretion of insulin into the extracellular fluid by exocytosis.

Other nutrients, such as certain amino acids, can also be metabolized by the beta cells to increase intracellular ATP levels and stimulate insulin secretion.


What does Insulin stimulate?


  • glucose uptake - insulin dependent (Binding of insulin to receptors on such cells leads rapidly to the insertion of glucose transporters into the plasma membrane, thereby giving the cell an ability to efficiently take up glucose) 
  • amino-acid uptake
  • glycogen and lipid synthesis of AAs in the liver
  • K+ uptake - important in insulin therapy

Overall, has an ANABOLIC EFFECT


How to Sulfonylurea drugs act?

What are they used for?

Stimulate insulin secretion by binding to the ATP-sensitive potassium channels and blocking their activity. This results in a depolarizing effect that triggers insulin secretion.

Stimulating insulin secretion in patients with type II diabetes


What does insulin inhibit?






How can an injection of insulin kill a patient?

Because of its ability to acutely suppress plasma potassium concentrations.


Summarise the mechanism of insulin action

Insulin binding to the insulin receptor induces a signal transduction cascade which allows the glucose transporter (GLUT4) to transport glucose into the cell. The glucose can be used for glycolysis, or synthesis of glycogen, fatty acids and protein. The signal cascade also activates the expression of genes.


What is GLP-1

Glucagon-Like Peptide-1

An incretin hormone secreted by the intestine in response to the presence of nutrients (like carbohydrate, protein and lipid) in the lumen of the small intestine.

Once in the circulation, GLP-1 has a half-life of less than 2 minutes, due to rapid degradation by the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4.

GLP-1 is a potent antihyperglycaemic hormone, inducing glucose-dependent stimulation of insulin secretion while suppressing glucagon secretion.

Attractive as a drug target because, when the plasma glucose concentration is in the normal fasting range, GLP-1 no longer stimulates insulin to cause hypoglycaemia. By contrast, using insulin as a drug has a risk of hypoglycaemia.


What is GIP?

Gastric inhibitory peptide (glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide)


The presence of glucose in the intestinal lumen also stimulates the release of this. As an incretin, stimulates insulin release from pancreatic β-cells.


Where is glucagon released from?

What does it do?

Pancreatic a-cells

Maintains normoglycemia (normal blood glucose)



What is glucagon stimulated by?



What is glucagon inhibited by?

hyperglycaemia after a meal



What does glucagon stimulate?

blood glucose in increased (from liver)

gluconeogenesis - new glucose generated  (from amino-acids)



What are the metabolic effects of glucocorticoids?

  • Stimulation of gluconeogenesis (glucose from AAs and glycerol from triglyceride breakdown)
  • Mobilization of amino acids from extrahepatic tissues (act as substrates for gluconeogenesis)
  • Inhibition of glucose uptake in muscle and adipose tissue (conserves glucose)
  • Stimulation of fat breakdown in adipose tissue: The FAs released by lipolysis are used for production of energy in tissues like muscle, and the released glycerol provide another substrate for gluconeogenesis.

(Insulin opposes the action of glucocorticoids by inhibiting amino acid mobilization and lipolysis)


What are the metabolic effects of catecholamines? (adrenaline and noradrenaline)

  •  α-adrenergic activity stimulates glycogenolysis in the liver and muscle.
  • β-adrenergic activity increases lipolysis by adipose tissue.

Together, these effects lead to increased blood glucose and fatty acids, providing substrates for energy production within cells throughout the body.

Insulin opposes catecholamine action by inhibiting glycogenolysis and lipolysis.


What are the metabolic effects of Growth Hormone?

Increases protein synthesis

Promotes lipolysis and fatty acid utilisation

Reduces tissue uptake of glucose

Promotes gluconeogenesis in the liver

often said to have anti-insulin activity, because it suppresses the ability of insulin to stimulate uptake of glucose in peripheral tissues and it enhances glucose synthesis in the liver.

Growth hormone counteracts in general the effects of insulin on glucose and lipid metabolism, but shares protein anabolic properties with insulin.


What level of fasting blood glucose is considered hyperglycaemic?

What is it?

Fasting blood glucose of >7mM

  • Occurs in diabetes mellitus when glucose sinking fails
  • Renal glucose reuptake exceeded if blood glucose >10 mM
  • Glucose reacts with and alters properties of proteins

  eg glycated haemoglobin (measure of long term hyperglycaemia)

  • Excess glucose produces aberrant cell messengers, endothelial dysfunction, pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation.

Thus glucose is toxic.


What is hypoglycaemia?

Blood glucose <4mM. 

 Dizziness and loss of consciousness (due to brain dysfunction)

medical emergency that involves abnormally low blood glucose

an inadequate supply of glucose to the brain, resulting in impairment of function - brain has an absolute requirement for glucose

most common forms of hypoglycemia occur as a complication of treatment of diabetes mellitus with insulin or oral medications


What are some complications of hyperglycaemia?

kidney damage, neurological damage, cardiovascular damage, damage to the retina or damage to feet and legs.

Diabetic neuropathy may be a result of long-term hyperglycaemia.

Cellular effects of chronic hyperglycaemia are numerous. They include glycation of proteins, dysfunction of endothelial cells, dysfunction of pancreatic beta-cells, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.


What does the glucose tolerance test look like in diabetes?


Drinking a glucose solution causes blood glucose to rise dramatically.

If blood glucose exceeds ~10 mM, glucose appears in the urine because the capacity of the kidney to reabsorb glucose is exceeded.


What sorts of effects on body fluids does diabetes have?

  • increased osmolarity of the blood (polydypsia)
  • Osmotic pressure of blood

  increased glucose


  stimulates excessive drinking

  • Osmotic pressure of urine


  ketone bodies

  excessive water loss - dehydration

  • Other effects

  metabolic acidosis (keto-acids)

  raised K (K loss from cells)

  but compensation


What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

A potentially life-threatening complication in patients with DM.

Predominantly in those with T1DM, but can occur in T2DM.

Acidic ketones are products of fatty acid metabolism which increase when cells cannot take up glucose.

Vomiting, dehydration, deep gasping breathing ("Kussmaul respiration"), confusion and occasionally coma are typical symptoms. 


What does acidosis cause?

Hyperkalaemia (high blood potassium).

Protons move into cells and displace potassium ions which move out of cells into the bloodstream.

If renal function is normal, the excess potassium is excreted by the kidneys. However, subsequent insulin administration would cause potassium movement into cells and may cause hypokalaemia (low blood potassium).


Why is there hyperglycaemia in 




T1 - destruction of pancreatic beta-cells.

T2 - there is resistance of adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and liver to the action of insulin


What is Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus?

Autoimmune destruction of pancreatic b-cells

(Insulin dependent; juvenile)

  No other cells are affected

  Low blood insulin - little secreted.

  No glucose uptake into muscle & fat cells

  High blood glucose - causing damage

  Weight loss but hyperphagia

  Tend to metabolise fats

  Glucose lost through urine (hence mellitus)

  Thirst, diuresis (hence diabetes) and dehydration

  tiredness and irritability

  Begins in childhood 


What are the classical features of T1DM?

Autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.

The subsequent lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose.

The classical symptoms are polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), polyphagia (increased hunger), and weight loss.


 What is the treatment for T1DM?

Insulin replacement


  long acting or

  programmed infusion (mini pump)

  over-use - insulin coma


Preventing high blood glucose concentrations - diet

  use glucose meter to measure 


Diabetic Coma

What are the possible contradictory causes of coma? 


  acidosis (pH<7.2)

  rapid breathing

  smell of acetone in expired air


  very hyperglycemic



  too much insulin

  missed a meal

  over exercised


What is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?

Non-insulin dependent diabetes

Cells resistant to insulin action

  cannot store glucose

  cannot utilise glucose


  blood insulin tends to be high

  more complex and variable than type I.

Classically disease of >40 years

1.4 million in UK and increasing

But also in young now


What are the risk factors for T2DM?

  obesity and over weight

  lack of exercise


  high sugar and high fat diet


What is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?

a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. The classic symptoms are excess thirst, frequent urination, and constant hunger


What percentage of diabetes is due to T2?


10% is T1DM and gestational diabetes


What are the treatments for T2DM?

  Control blood glucose

  - most important

  Use meter to measure


  low sugar, low fat (not saturated lipids)

  control cholesterol



  Sulphonylureas - Stimulate insulin secretion

  Thiazolidinediones - Insulin sensitisers

  Gliptins (dipeptidyl peptidase-4 [DPP-4] inhibitors)

  GLP-1 agonists

  Insulin supplementation


Complications of T2DM?

Having diabetes makes high blood pressure and other heart and circulation problems more likely because diabetes damages arteries and makes them targets for hardening (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can cause high blood pressure, which if not treated, can lead to blood vessel damage, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or kidney failure.

Studies show a link between insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, and diabetic dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis and blood vessel disease. These conditions can develop even before diabetes is diagnosed.

Patients with diabetes often have unhealthy cholesterol levels including high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and high triglycerides. This triad of poor lipid counts often occurs in patients with premature coronary heart disease. It is also characteristic of a lipid disorder associated with insulin resistance called diabetic dyslipidemia in those patients with diabetes


What is first line treatment for T2DM?

How does it work?


It works by reducing the amount of glucose that the liver releases into the bloodstream. It also makes the body's cells more responsive to insulin.


How do Sulphonylureas work?

What are some examples of this type of drug?

increase the amount of insulin that is produced by the pancreas.

 glibenclamide, gliclazide, glimepiride, glipizide, gliquidone.


How do Thiazolidinediones work?

(eg. pioglitazone) make the body’s cells more sensitive to insulin so that more glucose is taken from the blood. 


How do gliptins work?

By preventing the breakdown of a naturally occurring hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).

GLP-1 helps the body produce insulin in response to high blood glucose levels, but is rapidly broken down by dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4).

By inhibiting DPP-4, the gliptins (linagliptin, saxagliptin, sitagliptin and vildagliptin) act to prevent high blood glucose levels, but do not result in episodes of hypoglycaemia.


How does Exenatide work?

Exenatide is a GLP-1 agonist, an injectable treatment that acts in a similar way to the natural hormone GLP-1 (see the section on gliptins, above).

It boosts insulin production when there are high blood glucose levels, reducing blood glucose without the risk of episodes of hypoglycaemia ("hypos").


What is the basis for insulin supplementation in T2DM when insulin levels are already high?

It might seem counter-intuitive to use insulin supplementation to treat Type 2 diabetes in which insulin is already high, but the tissues may not be completely insulin resistant and increasing the insulin further may stimulate glucose uptake. High glucose is more of a problem than high insulin.


What are the complications of Diabetes Mellitus?

Microvascular disease

  Renal failure - poor renal filtration

  Diabetic retinopathy  (retinal disease)

Large vessel disease

  Major arteries - atherosclerosis

  heart and brain important

  lower limbs


  Reduced sensitivity


  autonomic defects

  erectile dysfunction (impotence)

  vaginal dryness


Summarise the issues when 

Glucose concentration is too low

Glucose concentration is too high


  too low – metabolic insufficiency

  too high – chemical pathogenesis

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