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16 - 01 - 2018

Will type 2 diabetes be treated using bioelectronics?

A study has restored insulin sensitivity thanks to a bioelectronic method in a rat model of type 2 diabetes.


Bioelectronics is an emerging therapeutic tool that aims to treat certain conditions using electrical stimulation of nerve fibers or neural circuits.


The carotid sinus * is involved in metabolic and hyperactive disorders concerning glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.



A research team has shown that the denervation of the carotid sinus in rats fed a diet high in fat or high in sugar allowed a return to normal weight, blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. This therapy is not usable in patients because it induces definitive side effects.


The team therefore developed a method of bilateral electrical stimulation ** of the sensory nerve that connects the carotid sinus to the brain, stimulation that aims to inhibit the activity of the carotid sinuses. It was tested in the rat.


A 9-week treatment restored insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in rats with type 2 diabetes. Five weeks after stopping treatment, glucose intolerance and insulin insensitivity returned, which shows the reversible nature of the treatment.


At this stage, it can be envisaged that this new type of diabetes therapy could be applied to patients. The search is ongoing.



* The carotid sinus is a small organ located at the bifurcation of the carotid arteries. It acts among other things on the regulation of blood pressure and the detection of hypoxia.

** 1mA at 20, 30 or 40kHz and 2mA at 50kHz