Proinflammatory effects of hypoglycemia in humans with or without diabetes

Jacqueline M. Ratter*, Hanne M.M. Rooijackers, Cees J. Tack, Anneke G.M. Hijmans, Mihai G. Netea, Bastiaan E. de Galan, Rinke Stienstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Severe hypoglycemic events have been associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in patients with diabetes, which may be explained by hypoglycemiainduced inflammation. We used ex vivo stimulations of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and monocytes obtained during hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic (5.0 mmol/L)-hypoglycemic (2.6 mmol/L) clamps in 11 healthy participants, 10 patients with type 1 diabetes and normal awareness of hypoglycemia (NAH), and 10 patients with type 1 diabetes and impaired awareness (IAH) to test whether the composition and inflammatory function of immune cells adapt to a more proinflammatory state after hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia increased leukocyte numbers in healthy control participants and patients with NAH but not in patients with IAH. Leukocytosis strongly correlated with the adrenaline response to hypoglycemia. Ex vivo, PBMCs and monocytes displayed a more robust cytokine response to microbial stimulation after hypoglycemia compared with euglycemia, although it was less pronounced in patients with IAH. Of note, hypoglycemia increased the expression of markers of demargination and inflammation in PBMCs. We conclude that hypoglycemia promotes mobilization of specific leukocyte subsets from themarginal pool and induces proinflammatory functional changes in immune cells. Inflammatory responses were less pronounced in IAH, indicating that counterregulatory hormone responses are key modulators of hypoglycemia-induced proinflammatory effects. Hypoglycemia-induced proinflammatory changes may promote a sustained inflammatory state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1052-1061
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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    Ratter, J. M., Rooijackers, H. M. M., Tack, C. J., Hijmans, A. G. M., Netea, M. G., de Galan, B. E., & Stienstra, R. (2017). Proinflammatory effects of hypoglycemia in humans with or without diabetes. Diabetes, 66(4), 1052-1061.