Effects of electrical microstimulation of peripheral sympathetic nervous fascicle on glucose uptake in rats

J Artif Organs. 2013 Sep;16(3):352-8. doi: 10.1007/s10047-013-0700-x. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


Artificial pancreas systems control insulin-mediated glucose uptake. Although these systems are widely used in the clinical setting, they are still fraught with structural and biological problems. The non-insulin mediated glucose uptake (NIMGU) mechanism could be an alternative candidate as a target system for the artificial control of peripheral glucose uptake. Although the sympathetic nervous system is known to be one of the regulators of NIMGU, the effects of peripheral sympathetic activation on glucose uptake have not been well documented. We electrically stimulated a sympathetic nerve fascicle to clarify the possibility of controlling peripheral glucose uptake. A sympathetic signal was microneurographically obtained in the unilateral sciatic nerve in normal (NRML), insulin-resistant high-fat-fed (HFF), and streptozotocin-induced insulin-depleted (STZ) rats, and electrical stimulation was applied via the microelectrode (microstimulation). The microstimulation was also applied to sites other than the sympathetic fascicles in an additional group of normal rats (NSYMP group). The stimulation applied to the sympathetic fibers resulted in an immediate and transient decrease of blood glucose (BG) in the NRML, HFF, and STZ groups, with little change in the plasma insulin. The change in BG level seemed to depend on the basal BG level (NRML < HFF < STZ). In contrast, no reduction in BG was observed in the NSYMP group. These results suggest that microstimulation in the peripheral sympathetic fascicle could enhance glucose uptake in peripheral tissues-independently of insulin function-and show an alternative possibility for controlling glucose uptake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose