The roles of leptin receptors on POMC neurons in the regulation of sex-specific energy homeostasis.

Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH, United States.
Physiology & Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.03). 02/2010; 100(2):165-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.02.018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Leptin regulates energy homeostasis and reproduction. One key population of leptin receptors (Lepr) are found on proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, and evidence links the action of gonadal estrogens to these same POMC neurons. To determine whether Lepr on POMC neurons are critical for reproductive capacity or for sex-specific energy and glucose homeostasis, we studied Cre/loxP mice lacking Lepr specifically on POMC neurons (Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) mice) and their controls with normal Lepr (Lepr(flox/flox) mice). Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) mice maintained normal reproductive capacity and accumulated more body fat than their same sex controls. Ovariectomy (OVX) was performed to investigate the effects of the estrogens and Lepr on POMC neurons on body fat accumulation and glucose tolerance. OVX Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) females accumulated more fat than OVX Lepr(flox/flox) females did. Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) males were glucose intolerant and insulin insensitive compared with control males. In contrast, control and Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) females had similar glucose tolerance before and after OVX. Therefore leptin's action on POMC neurons reduces body fat accumulation, but is not critical for regulation of reproduction. The sex difference in leptin signaling on POMC neurons on glucose tolerance appears independent of ovarian hormones.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Obesity-associated low-grade inflammation at white adipose tissue (WAT) leads to metabolic defects. Sex steroid hormone estrogen may be protective against high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity and insulin resistance. This has been tested by many previous studies utilizing rodent models of ovariectomy (OVX) and/or treatment of estradiol (E2), the major biologically active form of estrogen. Body weight and adiposity are increased by OVX and reduced following E2 treatment, however. Thus, the protective roles of E2 may be secondary effects to the changes in body weight and adiposity. We hypothesize that E2 directly prevents inflammation and maintains insulin sensitivity in WAT independent of energy status using mice with similar body weights and adiposity. Materials and methods: Four groups of female C57BL/6 mice were used, including sham-operated mice treated with vehicle for E2 and fed with either a low-fat diet (LFD; Sham-Veh-LFD) or a HFD (Sham-Veh-HFD), and HFD-fed OVX mice treated with either vehicle (OVX-Veh-HFD) or E2 (OVX-E2-HFD). Body weight and abdominal parametrial WAT mass, insulin signaling, and expression levels of genes related to low-grade inflammation in WAT were compared between these groups pair-fed with equal amounts of calories for a period of 4 days. Results: Body weights and WAT mass were similar in all four groups. OVX-Veh-HFD mice had impaired insulin signaling associated with rapid activation of inflammation, whereas OVX-E2-HFD group maintained insulin sensitivity without showing inflammation in WAT. Conclusions: E2 directly contributed to the maintenance of insulin sensitivity during the early phase of development of metabolic dysfunction, possibly via preventing low-grade inflammation in WAT.
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    ABSTRACT: Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons constitute a critical anorexigenic node in the CNS for maintaining energy balance. These neurons directly affect energy expenditure and feeding behavior by releasing bioactive neuropeptides, but are also subject to signals directly related to nutritional state such as the adipokine leptin. To further investigate the interaction of diet and leptin on hypothalamic POMC peptide levels, we exposed 8-10 wk old male POMC-DsRed transgenic reporter mice to either 24-48 h (acute) or 2 wk (chronic) food restriction, high-fat diet (HFD) or leptin treatment. Using semiquantitative immunofluorescence and radioimmunoassays, we discovered that acute fasting and chronic food-restriction decreased the levels of ACTH, α-MSH and β-endorphin in the hypothalamus, together with decreased DsRed fluorescence, compared to control ad libitum fed mice. Furthermore, acute but not chronic HFD or leptin administration selectively increased α-MSH levels in POMC fibers and increased DsRed fluorescence in POMC cell bodies. HFD and leptin treatments comparably increased circulating leptin levels at both time points, suggesting that transcription of Pomc and synthesis of POMC peptide products are not modified in direct relation to the concentration of plasma leptin. Our findings indicate that negative energy balance persistently downregulated POMC peptide levels, and this phenomenon may be partially explained by decreased leptin levels, as these changes were blocked in fasted mice treated with leptin. In contrast, sustained elevation of plasma leptin by HFD or hormone supplementation did not significantly alter POMC peptide levels, indicating that enhanced leptin signaling does not chronically increase Pomc transcription and peptide synthesis.
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Jun 2, 2014