What is Glucotoxicity, Know its Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

When blood sugar levels are uncontrollably high it leads to a condition called diabetes mellitus, which is primarily a pancreatic disorder. When the levels of glucose remain elevated in the blood for long time and remain in an untreated condition, it leads to a disorder called glucotoxicity. Here is a detailed analysis of glucotoxicity, with causes, pathology, symptoms and treatment of glucotoxicity.


A Detailed Analysis of Glucotoxicity

Glucotoxicity is essentially associated with Beta cells of the Islets of Langerhans of the pancreas which can be viewed as a structural and functional harm. It commonly seen in conditions like incessant sort of hyperglycemia and subsequent diabetes mellitus. However, glucotoxicity is different from diabetes and can take a severe form if not dealt with properly.

For a detailed analysis of glucotoxicity, it is essential to understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of glucotoxicity.

Causes of Glucose Toxicity

There are several causes of glucotoxicity, which are related to elevated blood glucose level and in turn result in glucotoxicity.

High Blood Glucose Levels – Glucotoxicity is due to an immediate after effect of long standing high blood glucose levels. This is one of the commonest causes of glucotoxicity. This prompts hyperglycemic conditions, for example, diabetes mellitus. Different conditions which are not particularly connected with diabetes mellitus demonstrate an optional condition or sickness which possibly causes glucotoxicity.

Inflammation – Another major cause of glucotoxicity is infection or inflammation. These are more related to Beta cell conditions involving high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood leading to hyperglycemia.

According to research studies, the causes of glucotoxicity can be related to methylation of DNA. This means, addition of a methyl compound to either strands of the DNA, which is related to insulin resistance. Methylation of DNA, specifically of two compounds, the enzyme PDXI and Insulin results in such changes and is an evident finding in pancreatic cells of those with Diabetes Mellitus.

Other Causes of Glucotoxicity

Considering the mechanism of development of glucotoxicity and chemical pathways, some of the other influencing factors and causes of glucotoxicity include

DNA Binding Reduction – Reduced DNA binding restriction is one of the other causes of glucotoxicity condition. However the good news is that this condition can be easily treated with medicines like troglitazone, aminoguanidine, phlorizin, or N-acetylcysteine.

Insulin Gene Expression Loss – Changes in certain genes can result in rising of blood glucose levels, which is another common cause of glucotoxicity.

Insulin and Paracrine Factors – Insulin made by Beta-cells is a cause for the paracrine factors present within the islet cells that can modify the release of glucagon from the adjacent α-cells. These cellular level changes are other causes of glucotoxicity.

Signs and Symptoms of Glucotoxicity

Glucotoxicity is often confused with diabetes mellitus, which is why it is essential to differentiate it. Glucotoxicity has a poor prognosis but it can be identified based on certain signs and symptoms. The symptoms of glucotoxicity may be severe and may need immediate medical treatment in most cases.

Some of the common symptoms of glucotoxicity include:

  • Immense thirst
  • Recurrent urination
  • Lethargy
  • Myalgia
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Refractive errors
  • Confusion

Treatment of Glucotoxicity

Treatment of glucotoxicity mainly depends on the causes, existing conditions like diabetes and the severity of the symptoms.

Glucotoxicity is dealt in a similar manner as is diabetes mellitus. The essential goal in a patient of glucotoxicity is to decrease blood glucose levels. This can be accomplished by controlling the eating regimen with low sugar content.

Treatment of glucotoxicity includes medications, as appropriate in addition to strict eating regimen. Regular exercise with satisfactory intake of water is a likely definite way to deal with glucotoxicity. Insulin secretagogues and metformin can help lessen glucose levels. Individuals with serious glucotoxicity should consider insulin infusions as a lifetime treatment option.


After a detailed analysis of glucotoxicity, it is clear that it is an adjunct of diabetes mellitus. Glucotoxicity is a defect of the beta cells of the Islets of Langerhans which may lead debilitating changes in the body. It is caused due to similar reasons but has greater negative impacts on the body in comparison to diabetes. It is a disease with a poor prognosis but can be identified on the basis of several usual signs and symptoms. However, grave it may seem, treatment of glucotoxicity is available, if provided at the earliest.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 14, 2018

Recent Posts

Related Posts