Regulation of Liver Glucose Metabolism by the Metabolic Sensing of Leucine in the Hypothalamus

  • Roger Gutiérrez-Juárez
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Amino acids exert powerful effects on insulin action and glucose metabolism through direct (substrate-like) as well indirect (hormonally mediated) mechanisms. The majority of these actions are mediated by tissues such as the skeletal muscle and the liver. In this chapter we discuss evidence indicating that leucine improves insulin action and liver glucose metabolism through a metabolic sensing network in the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH). Leucine is metabolized in the MBH to generate a neurogenic signal that is relayed to the liver via the vagus nerve to modulate the partition of glucose fluxes resulting in an overall decrease of glucose output. We further postulate that the faltering of this central sensing mechanism leads to hyperglycemia suggesting that hypothalamic leucine sensing is required to maintain euglycemia. Failure of this sensing mechanism could be a contributing factor to the development of diabetes.


Leucine Mediobasal hypothalamus Glucose homeostasis Nutrient sensing Liver glucose metabolism Brain-liver circuit Branched chain amino acids Insulin action Diabetes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine and Diabetes Research Center, Albert Einstein College of MedicineYeshiva UniversityBronxUSA

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