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The ventromedial hypothalamic (VMH) nucleus is a well-established hub for energy and glucose homeostasis. In particular, VMH neurons are thought to be important for initiating the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia, and ex vivo electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry data indicate a clear role for VMH neurons in sensing glucose concentration. However, the temporal response of VMH neurons to physiologically relevant changes in glucose availability in vivo has been hampered by a lack of available tools for measuring neuronal activity over time. Since the majority of neurons within the VMH are glutamatergic and can be targeted using the vesicular glutamate transporter Vglut2, we expressed cre-dependent GCaMP7s in Vglut2 cre mice and examined the response profile of VMH to intraperitoneal injections of glucose, insulin, and 2-deoxyglucose (2DG). We show that reduced available glucose via insulin-induced hypoglycemia and 2DG-induced glucoprivation, but not hyperglycemia induced by glucose injection, inhibits VMH Vglut2 neuronal population activity in vivo. Surprisingly, this inhibition was maintained for at least 45 minutes despite prolonged hypoglycemia and initiation of a counterregulatory response. Thus, although VMH stimulation, via pharmacological, electrical, or optogenetic approaches, is sufficient to drive a counterregulatory response, our data suggest VMH Vglut2 neurons are not the main drivers required to do so, since VMH Vglut2 neuronal population activity remains suppressed during hypoglycemia and glucoprivation.
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