Neuronal control of peripheral insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism

Nat Commun. 2017 May 4;8:15259. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15259.


The central nervous system (CNS) has an important role in the regulation of peripheral insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis. Research in this dynamically developing field has progressed rapidly due to techniques allowing targeted transgenesis and neurocircuitry mapping, which have defined the primary responsive neurons, associated molecular mechanisms and downstream neurocircuitries and processes involved. Here we review the brain regions, neurons and molecular mechanisms by which the CNS controls peripheral glucose metabolism, particularly via regulation of liver, brown adipose tissue and pancreatic function, and highlight the potential implications of these regulatory pathways in type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Pancreas / metabolism


  • Glucose