Neural Control of Blood Glucose Level

Jpn J Physiol. 1986;36(5):827-41. doi: 10.2170/jjphysiol.36.827.


All of the experimental results described above can be categorized as follows: the relationship between glucose levels and pancreatic and adrenal nerve activities; innervations of the liver and their role in the regulation of blood glucose level; central integration of blood glucose level; glucose-sensitive afferent nerve fibers in the liver and regulation of blood glucose; oral and intestinal inputs involved in reflex control of blood glucose level. We showed that an increase in blood glucose content produced an increase in the activity of the pancreatic branch of the vagus nerve, whereas it induced a decrease in the activity of the adrenal nerve. It was also shown that a decrease in blood glucose activated the sympatho-adrenal system and suppressed the vago-pancreatic system. It seems rational that these responses are involved in the maintenance of blood glucose level. Studies on the innervation of the liver led us to a conclusion that sympathetic innervation of the liver might play a role in eliciting a prompt hyperglycemic response through liberation of norepinephrine from the nerve terminals, and that the vagal innervation synergically worked with the humoral factor (insulin) for glycogen synthesis in the hyperglycemic condition. The glucose-sensitive afferents from the liver seem to initiate a reflex control of blood glucose level. The gustatory information on EIR response, reported by STEFFENS, is supported by the electrophysiological observations. MEI's reports also indicated the importance of information from the intestinal glucoreceptors in the reflex control of insulin secretion. The role of integrative functions of the hypothalamus and brainstem through neuronal networks on neural control of blood glucose levels is also evident. A schematic diagram of the nervous networks involved in the regulation of the blood glucose levels is shown in Fig. 3.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / innervation
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Hypothalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Islets of Langerhans / innervation
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology
  • Liver / innervation
  • Liver / physiology
  • Medulla Oblongata / anatomy & histology
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Splanchnic Nerves / physiology
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology


  • Blood Glucose