The hypothalamic control of hepatic glucose production is an evident aspect of energy homeostasis. In addition to the control of glucose metabolism by the circadian timing system, the hypothalamus also serves as a key relay center for (humoral) feedback information from the periphery, with the important role for hypothalamic leptin receptors as a striking example. The hypothalamic biological clock uses its projections to the preautonomic hypothalamic neurons to control the daily rhythms in plasma glucose concentration, glucose uptake, and insulin sensitivity. Euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp experiments combined with either sympathetic-, parasympathetic-, or sham-denervations of the autonomic input to the liver have further delineated the hypothalamic pathways that mediate the control of the circadian timing system over glucose metabolism. In addition, these experiments clearly showed both that next to the biological clock peripheral hormones may "use" the preautonomic neurons in the hypothalamus to affect hepatic glucose metabolism, and that similar pathways may be involved in the control of lipid metabolism in liver and white adipose tissue.
© 2010 New York Academy of Sciences.