Intravenous lactate prevents cerebral dysfunction during hypoglycaemia in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Author(s): King P, Kong MF, Parkin H, MacDonald IA, Barber C, et al.


1. Intravenous lactate prevents cerebral dysfunction during hypoglycaemia in healthy volunteers. This study examines whether this also occurs in insulin-dependent diabetes. Changes in four-choice reaction time, auditory brain stem response, and P300 latency were used as measures of cerebral function. 2. Ten subjects were studied twice at least 4 weeks apart. Blood glucose was maintained between 5 and 8 mmol/l for 1 h before starting a 60 m-unit min-1 m-2 stepped hyperinsulinaemic clamp, achieving blood glucose concentrations of 4.5, 3.3 and 2.5 mmol/l. At one visit, 40 mumol min-1 kg-1 sodium lactate was infused, and at the other, normal saline. Cerebral function was measured at each blood glucose concentration. 3. Blood lactate rose to 3.32 +/- 0.06 mmol/l during lactate infusion compared with 0.9 +/- 0.03 mmol/l during saline infusion. Compared with the results at 4.5 mmol/l there were no significant changes at 3.3 mmol/l in any measure of cerebral function at either visit. At 2.5 mmol/l a significant increase in reaction time and P300 latency occurred with saline [mean change 33.1 +/- 8.6 ms (P < 0.01) and 30.1 +/- 9.2 ms (P < 0.01) respectively] but not lactate [mean change -5.9 +/- 3.7 ms (P > 0.05) and -6 +/- 7.6 ms (P > 0.05) respectively]. No significant changes occurred in auditory brain stem response. The catecholamine response to hypoglycaemia was attenuated by lactate (P < 0.05 for adrenaline and noradrenaline). 4. Thus intravenous lactate prevents cerebral dysfunction during hypoglycaemia in insulin-dependent diabetes.

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