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    ABSTRACT: The central nervous system mediates energy balance (energy intake and energy expenditure) in the body; the hypothalamus has a key role in this process. Recent evidence has demonstrated an important role for hypothalamic malonyl CoA in mediating energy balance. Malonyl CoA is generated by the carboxylation of acetyl CoA by acetyl CoA carboxylase and is then either incorporated into long-chain fatty acids by fatty acid synthase, or converted back to acetyl-CoA by malonyl CoA decarboxylase. Increased hypothalamic malonyl CoA is an indicator of energy surplus, resulting in a decrease in food intake and an increase in energy expenditure. In contrast, a decrease in hypothalamic malonyl CoA signals an energy deficit, resulting in an increased appetite and a decrease in body energy expenditure. A number of hormonal and neural orexigenic and anorexigenic signaling pathways have now been shown to be associated with changes in malonyl CoA levels in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus. Despite compelling evidence that malonyl CoA is an important mediator in the hypothalamic ARC control of food intake and regulation of energy balance, the mechanism(s) by which this occurs has not been established. Malonyl CoA inhibits carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1), and it has been proposed that the substrate of CPT-1, long-chain acyl CoA(s), may act as a mediator(s) of appetite and energy balance. However, recent evidence has challenged the role of long-chain acyl CoA(s) in this process, as well as the involvement of CPT-1 in hypothalamic malonyl CoA signaling. A better understanding of how malonyl CoA regulates energy balance should provide novel approaches to targeting intermediary metabolism in the hypothalamus as a mechanism to control appetite and body weight. Here, we review the data supporting an important role for malonyl CoA in mediating hypothalamic control of energy balance, and recent evidence suggesting that targeting malonyl CoA synthesis or degradation may be a novel approach to favorably modify appetite and weight gain.
    Pharmacological reviews 06/2010; 62(2):237-64. DOI:10.1124/pr.109.002428 · 18.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the mechanisms that govern neuronal responses to oxidative and metabolic stress is essential for therapeutic intervention. In vitro modeling is an important approach for these studies, as the metabolic environment influences neuronal responses. Surprisingly, most neuronal culture methods employ conditions that are non-physiological, especially with regards to glucose concentrations, which often exceed 20mM. This concentration is a significant departure from physiological glucose levels, and even several-fold greater than that seen during severe hyperglycemia. The goal of this study was to establish a physiological neuronal culture system that will facilitate the study of neuronal energy metabolism and responses to metabolic stress. We demonstrate that the metabolic environment during preparation, plating, and maintenance of cultures affects neuronal viability and the response of neuronal pathways to changes in energy balance.
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods 02/2008; 167(2):292-301. DOI:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2007.08.028 · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The regulation of energy balance is complex and, in man, imprecise. Nevertheless, in many individuals intake and expenditure are balanced with <1% error with little or no conscious effect. Essential components of such a regulatory system are signals, leptin and insulin, that reflect the size of lipid stores. Leptin receptors signal via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (as do insulin receptors) and via the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 to activate various types of neurone. Obese rodents, and possibly man, are resistant to leptin; in some cases because of genetic or perinatal programming (primary resistance), but commonly in response to high leptin levels (secondary resistance). Secondary leptin resistance may be a result of reduced transport of leptin to the brain or down-regulation of leptin signalling. Signals that reflect lipid stores form the tonic homeostatic regulatory system. They interact with episodic homeostatic signals carried by neurones, hormones and metabolites to regulate meal size and frequency. They also interact with signals related to the palatability of food, biorhythms and learning. Many neurotransmitters and hormones mediate responses to more than one input (e.g. gastric and adipocyte leptin), but are nevertheless most involved with particular inputs (e.g. leptin with adipocyte fat stores). Feeding can be divided into appetitive (preparation for feeding) and consummatory phases, which can both be further subdivided. Different sets of neurotransmitters and hormones are involved at each stage. In the long term it may be possible to customise obesity therapies according to those inputs and outputs that are most disturbed and most amenable to intervention in individual subjects.
    Proceedings of The Nutrition Society 03/2005; 64(1):39-46. DOI:10.1079/PNS2004407 · 4.94 Impact Factor