Memory deficits in a juvenile rat model of type 1 diabetes are due to excess 11β-HSD1 activity, which is upregulated by high glucose concentrations rather than insulin deficiency

Julie Brossaud, Clémentine Bosch-Bouju, Nathalie Marissal-Arvy, Marie-Neige Campas-Lebecque, Jean-Christophe Helbling, Scott P. Webster, Brian R. Walker, Xavier Fioramonti, Guillaume Ferreira, Pascal Barat, Jean-Benoît Corcuff, Marie-Pierre Moisan
Diabetologia. 2023-06-10; :
DOI: 10.1007/s00125-023-05942-3

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Brossaud J(1)(2), Bosch-Bouju C(3), Marissal-Arvy N(3), Campas-Lebecque MN(3), Helbling JC(3), Webster SP(4), Walker BR(4)(5), Fioramonti X(3), Ferreira G(3), Barat P(3)(6), Corcuff JB(3)(7), Moisan MP(3).

Author information:
(1)University of Bordeaux, INRAE, Bordeaux INP, NutriNeurO, UMR 1286, Bordeaux, France. .
(2)CHU Bordeaux, Nuclear Medicine, Pessac, France. .
(3)University of Bordeaux, INRAE, Bordeaux INP, NutriNeurO, UMR 1286, Bordeaux, France.
(4)British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
(5)Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
(6)CHU Bordeaux, Pediatric Endocrinology and DiaBEA Unit, Hôpital des Enfants, Bordeaux, France.
(7)CHU Bordeaux, Nuclear Medicine, Pessac, France.

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Children with diabetes may display cognitive alterations although vascular disorders have not yet appeared. Variations in glucose levels together with relative insulin deficiency in treated type 1 diabetes have been reported to impact brain function indirectly through dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. We have recently shown that enhancement of glucocorticoid levels in children with type 1 diabetes is dependent not only on glucocorticoid secretion but also on glucocorticoid tissue concentrations, which is linked to 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) activity. Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction and memory alteration were further dissected in a juvenile rat model of diabetes showing that excess 11β-HSD1 activity within the hippocampus is associated with hippocampal-dependent memory deficits. Here, to investigate the causal relationships between diabetes, 11β-HSD1 activity and hippocampus-dependent memory deficits, we evaluated the beneficial effect of 11β-HSD1 inhibition on hippocampal-related memory in juvenile diabetic rats. We also examined whether diabetes-associated enhancement of hippocampal 11β-HSD1 activity is due to an increase in brain glucose concentrations and/or a decrease in insulin signalling.

METHODS: Diabetes was induced in juvenile rats by daily i.p. injection of streptozotocin for 2 consecutive days. Inhibition of 11β-HSD1 was obtained by administrating the compound UE2316 twice daily by gavage for 3 weeks, after which hippocampal-dependent object location memory was assessed. Hippocampal 11β-HSD1 activity was estimated by the ratio of corticosterone/dehydrocorticosterone measured by LC/MS. Regulation of 11β-HSD1 activity in response to changes in glucose or insulin levels was determined ex vivo on acute brain hippocampal slices. The insulin regulation of 11β-HSD1 was further examined in vivo using virally mediated knockdown of insulin receptor expression specifically in the hippocampus.

RESULTS: Our data show that inhibiting 11β-HSD1 activity prevents hippocampal-related memory deficits in diabetic juvenile rats. A significant increase (53.0±9.9%) in hippocampal 11β-HSD1 activity was found in hippocampal slices incubated in high glucose conditions (13.9 mmol/l) vs normal glucose conditions (2.8 mmol/l) without insulin. However, 11β-HSD1 activity was not affected by variations in insulin concentration either in the hippocampal slices or after a decrease in hippocampal insulin receptor expression.

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Together, these data demonstrate that an increase in 11β-HSD1 activity contributes to memory deficits observed in juvenile diabetic rats and that an excess of hippocampal 11β-HSD1 activity stems from high glucose levels rather than insulin deficiency. 11β-HSD1 might be a therapeutic target for treating cognitive impairments associated with diabetes.

© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


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