Orexin signaling is necessary for hypoglycemia-induced prevention of conditioned place preference

Oleg Otlivanchik, Nicole M. Sanders, Ambrose Dunn-Meynell, Barry E. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


While the neural control of glucoregulatory responses to insulin-induced hypoglycemia is beginning to be elucidated, brain sites responsible for behavioral responses to hypoglycemia are relatively poorly understood. To help elucidate central control mechanisms associated with hypoglycemia unawareness, we first evaluated the effect of recurrent hypoglycemia on a simple behavioral measure, the robust feeding response to hypoglycemia, in rats. First, food intake was significantly, and similarly, increased above baseline saline-induced intake (1.1 ± 0.2 g; n = 8) in rats experiencing a first (4.4 ± 0.3; n = 8) or third daily episode of recurrent insulin-induced hypoglycemia (IIH, 3.7 ± 0.3 g; n = 9; P < 0.05). Because food intake was not impaired as a result of prior IIH, we next developed an alternative animal model of hypoglycemiainduced behavioral arousal using a conditioned place preference (CPP) model. We found that hypoglycemia severely blunted previously acquired CPP in rats and that recurrent hypoglycemia prevented this blunting. Pretreatment with a brain penetrant, selective orexin receptor-1 antagonist, SB-334867A, blocked hypoglycemia-induced blunting of CPP. Recurrently hypoglycemic rats also showed decreased preproorexin expression in the perifornical hypothalamus (50%) but not in the adjacent lateral hypothalamus. Pretreatment with sertraline, previously shown to prevent hypoglycemia-associated glucoregulatory failure, did not prevent blunting of hypoglycemia-induced CPP prevention by recurrent hypoglycemia. This work describes the first behavioral model of hypoglycemia unawareness and suggests a role for orexin neurons in mediating behavioral responses to hypoglycemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R66-R73
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Awareness
  • Diabetes
  • Perifornical hypothalamus
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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