Harveen Dhillon

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (20)164.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1)-expressing neurons of the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) control energy homeostasis, but the role of insulin action in these cells remains undefined. We show that insulin activates phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K) signaling in SF-1 neurons and reduces firing frequency in these cells through activation of K(ATP) channels. These effects were abrogated in mice with insulin receptor deficiency restricted to SF-1 neurons (SF-1(ΔIR) mice). Whereas body weight and glucose homeostasis remained the same in SF-1(ΔIR) mice as in controls under a normal chow diet, they were protected from diet-induced leptin resistance, weight gain, adiposity and impaired glucose tolerance. High-fat feeding activated PI3K signaling in SF-1 neurons of control mice, and this response was attenuated in the VMH of SF-1(ΔIR) mice. Mimicking diet-induced overactivation of PI3K signaling by disruption of the phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate phosphatase PTEN led to increased body weight and hyperphagia under a normal chow diet. Collectively, our experiments reveal that high-fat diet-induced, insulin-dependent PI3K activation in VMH neurons contributes to obesity development.
    Nature Neuroscience 01/2011; 14(7):911-8. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling in the hypothalamus has been implicated in the regulation of energy homeostasis, but the critical brain sites where this intracellular signal integrates various metabolic cues to regulate food intake and energy expenditure are unknown. Here, we show that mice with reduced PI3K activity in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH) are more sensitive to high-fat diet-induced obesity due to reduced energy expenditure. In addition, inhibition of PI3K in the VMH impaired the ability to alter energy expenditure in response to acute high-fat diet feeding and food deprivation. Furthermore, the acute anorexigenic effects induced by exogenous leptin were blunted in the mutant mice. Collectively, our results indicate that PI3K activity in VMH neurons plays a physiologically relevant role in the regulation of energy expenditure.
    Cell metabolism 07/2010; 12(1):88-95. · 17.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The adipose-derived hormone, leptin, was discovered over 10 years ago, but only now are we unmasking its downstream pathways which lead to reduced energy intake (feeding) and increased energy expenditure (thermogenesis). Recent transgenic models have challenged the long-standing supposition that the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (Arc) is omnipotent in the central response to leptin, and research focus is beginning to shift to examine roles of extra-arcuate sites. Dhillon et al. (2006) demonstrated that targeted knock out of the signaling form of the leptin receptor (lepr-B) in steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) cells of the hypothalamic ventromedial nucleus (VMN) produces obesity of a similar magnitude to the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-driven lepr-B deleted mouse, via a functionally distinct mechanism. These findings reveal that SF-1 cells of the VMN could be equally as important as POMC cells in mediating leptin's anti-obesity effects. However, the identification of molecular and cellular correlates of this relationship remains tantalizingly unknown. Here, we have shown that mRNA expression of the VMN-expressed neuropeptide pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is regulated according to energy status and that it exerts catabolic effects when administered centrally to mice. Furthermore, we have shown that SF-1 and PACAP mRNAs are colocalized in the VMN, and that leptin signaling via lepr-B is required for normal PACAP expression in these cells. Finally, blocking endogenous central PACAP signaling with the antagonist PACAP(6-38) markedly attenuates leptin-induced hypophagia and hyperthermia in vivo. Thus, it appears that PACAP is an important mediator of central leptin effects on energy balance.
    Journal of Neuroscience 11/2009; 29(47):14828-35. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (Socs3) has been identified as a mediator of central leptin resistance, but the identity of specific neurons in which Socs3 acts to suppress leptin signaling remains elusive. The ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) was recently shown to be an important site for leptin action because deleting leptin receptor within VMH neurons causes obesity. To examine the role of VMH Socs3 in leptin resistance and energy homeostasis, we generated mice lacking Socs3 specifically in neurons positive for steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1), which is expressed abundantly in the VMH. These mice had increased phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 in VMH neurons, suggesting improved leptin signaling, and consistently, food intake and weight-reducing effects of exogenous leptin were enhanced. Furthermore, on either chow or high-fat diets, these mice had reduced food intake. Unexpectedly, energy expenditure was reduced as well. Mice lacking Socs3 in SF1 neurons, despite no change in body weight, had improved glucose homeostasis and were partially protected from hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia induced by high-fat diets. These results suggest that Socs3 in SF1 neurons negatively regulates leptin signaling and plays important roles in mediating leptin sensitivity, glucose homeostasis, and energy expenditure.
    Endocrinology 08/2008; 149(11):5654-61. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of neuropeptides in the hypothalamus has been experimentally established. Due to difficulties in assessing function in vivo, the roles of the fast-acting neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA are largely unknown. Synaptic vesicular transporters (VGLUTs for glutamate and VGAT for GABA) are required for vesicular uptake and, consequently, synaptic release of neurotransmitters. Ventromedial hypothalamic (VMH) neurons are predominantly glutamatergic and express VGLUT2. To evaluate the role of glutamate release from VMH neurons, we generated mice lacking VGLUT2 selectively in SF1 neurons (a major subset of VMH neurons). These mice have hypoglycemia during fasting secondary to impaired fasting-induced increases in the glucose-raising pancreatic hormone glucagon and impaired induction in liver of mRNAs encoding PGC-1alpha and the gluconeogenic enzymes PEPCK and G6Pase. Similarly, these mice have defective counterregulatory responses to insulin-induced hypoglycemia and 2-deoxyglucose (an antimetabolite). Thus, glutamate release from VMH neurons is an important component of the neurocircuitry that functions to prevent hypoglycemia.
    Cell Metabolism 06/2007; 5(5):383-93. · 14.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone, acts directly on the brain to control food intake and energy expenditure. An important question is the identity of first-order neurons initiating leptin's anti-obesity effects. A widely held view is that most, if not all, of leptin's effects are mediated by neurons located in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. However, leptin receptors (LEPRs) are expressed in other sites as well, including the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH). The possible role of leptin acting in "nonarcuate" sites has largely been ignored. In the present study, we show that leptin depolarizes and increases the firing rate of steroidogenic factor-1 (SF1)-positive neurons in the VMH. We also show, by generating mice that lack LEPRs on SF1-positive neurons, that leptin action at this site plays an important role in reducing body weight and, of note, in resisting diet-induced obesity. These results reveal a critical role for leptin action on VMH neurons.
    Neuron 02/2006; 49(2):191-203. · 15.77 Impact Factor
  • Neuron 01/2006; · 15.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Local glucocorticoid (GC) action depends on intracellular GC metabolism by 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (11betaHSDs). 11betaHSD1 activates GCs, while 11betaHSD2 inactivates GCs. Adipocyte-specific amplification of GCs through transgenic overexpression of 11betaHSD1 produces visceral obesity and the metabolic syndrome in mice. To determine whether adipocyte-specific inactivation of GCs protects against this phenotype, we created a transgenic model in which human 11betaHSD2 is expressed under the control of the murine adipocyte fatty acid binding protein (aP2) promoter (aP2-h11betaHSD2). Transgenic mice have increased 11betaHSD2 expression and activity exclusively in adipose tissue, with the highest levels in subcutaneous adipose tissue, while systemic indexes of GC exposure are unchanged. Transgenic mice resist weight gain on high-fat diet due to reduced fat mass accumulation. This improved energy balance is associated with decreased food intake, increased energy expenditure, and improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Adipose tissue gene expression in transgenic mice is characterized by decreased expression of leptin and resistin and increased expression of adiponectin, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, and uncoupling protein 2. These data suggest that reduction of active GCs exclusively in adipose tissue is an important determinant of a favorable metabolic phenotype with respect to energy homeostasis and the metabolic syndrome.
    Diabetes 05/2005; 54(4):1023-31. · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperthyroidism and states of adrenergic hyperactivity have many common clinical features, suggesting similar pathogenic mechanisms of action. The widespread use of beta-adrenergic receptor (betaAR) antagonists (beta-blockers) to treat hyperthyroidism has led to the belief that the physiological consequences of thyroid hormone (TH) excess are mediated in part via catecholamine signaling through betaARs. To test this hypothesis, we compared the response to TH excess in mice lacking the three known betaARs (beta-less) vs. wild-type (WT) mice. Although beta-less mice had a lower heart rate at baseline in comparison to WT mice, the metabolic and cardiovascular responses to hyperthyroidism were equivalent in both WT and beta-less mice. These data indicate that the metabolic and cardiovascular effects of TH excess are largely independent of betaARs. These findings suggest that the efficacy of clinical treatment of hyperthyroidism with beta-blockers is due to antagonism of sympathetic signaling, and that this process functions independently of TH action.
    Endocrinology 07/2004; 145(6):2767-74. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Excessive caloric intake is thought to be sensed by the brain, which then activates thermogenesis as a means of preventing obesity. The sympathetic nervous system, through beta-adrenergic receptor (betaAR) action on target tissues, is likely the efferent arm of this homeostatic mechanism. To test this hypothesis, we created mice that lack the three known betaARs (beta-less mice). beta-less mice on a Chow diet had a reduced metabolic rate and were slightly obese. On a high-fat diet, beta-less mice, in contrast to wild-type mice, developed massive obesity that was due entirely to a failure of diet-induced thermogenesis. These findings establish that betaARs are necessary for diet-induced thermogenesis and that this efferent pathway plays a critical role in the body's defense against diet-induced obesity.
    Science 09/2002; 297(5582):843-5. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV), encoding either rat leptin (rAAV-lep) or green fluorescent protein (rAAV-GFP, control), was injected intracerebroventricularly in rats consuming a high-fat diet (HFD; 45 kcal%). Caloric consumption and body weight were monitored weekly until the rats were killed at 9 weeks. Untreated control rats consuming regular rat diet (RCD; 11 kcal%) were monitored in parallel. Body weight gain was accelerated in rAAV-GFP + HFD control rats relative to those consuming RCD, despite equivalent kcal consumption. At 9 weeks, serum leptin, free fatty acids, triglycerides, and insulin were elevated in HFD control rats. In contrast, rAAV-lep treatment reduced intake and blocked the HFD-induced increase in weight, adiposity, and metabolic variables. Blood glucose was slightly reduced but within the normal range, and serum ghrelin levels were significantly elevated in rAAV-lep + HFD rats. Uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) mRNA in brown adipose tissue (BAT), an index of energy expenditure through nonshivering thermogenesis, was decreased in rats consuming HFD. Treatment with rAAV-lep significantly augmented BAT UCP1 mRNA expression, indicating increased thermogenic energy expenditure. These findings demonstrate that central leptin gene therapy efficiently prevents weight gain, increased adiposity, and hyperinsulinemia in rats consuming an HFD by decreasing energy intake and increasing thermogenic energy expenditure.
    Diabetes 07/2002; 51(6):1729-36. · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) overexpression, induced by the intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of an recombinant adeno-associated viral vector encoding LIF (rAAV-LIF), resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in body weight (BW) gain, food intake (FI) and adiposity, evidenced by suppression of serum leptin and free fatty acids for an extended period in outbred adult female rats. A dose-dependent reduction in serum insulin levels and unchanged serum glucose, energy expenditure through thermogenesis as indicated by uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1) mRNA expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT), and metabolism as indicated by serum T3 and T4, accompanied the blockade of weight gain. Thus, central rAAV-LIF therapy is a viable strategy to voluntarily reduce appetite and circumvent leptin resistance, a primary factor underlying age-dependent weight gain and obesity in rodents and humans.
    Peptides 06/2002; 23(5):975-84. · 2.52 Impact Factor
  • H Dhillon, S P Kalra, P S Kalra
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    ABSTRACT: We have examined the dose-dependent effects and central action of intraventricular administration of a recombinant adeno-associated virus encoding rat leptin (rAAV-leptin) in suppressing body weight (BW) gain in adult female rats. A low dose of rAAV-leptin (5x10(10) particles) suppressed weight gain (15%) without changing daily food intake (FI), but a twofold higher dose decreased BW by 30% along with a reduction in daily FI. Reduced BW was due to a loss in body adiposity because serum leptin was reduced. Serum insulin levels were decreased (96%) by only the high dose along with a slight reduction in glucose. Uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1) mRNA expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT), reflecting energy expenditure through thermogenesis, was upregulated to the same magnitude by the two rAAV-leptin doses. We analyzed by in situ hybridization the expression in the hypothalamus of genes encoding the appetite-regulating neuropeptides. Only the high dose decreased expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY), the orexigenic peptide, and increased proopiomelanocortin (POMC), precursor of the an orexigenic peptide, alpha-MSH. Our studies show for the first time that increased availability of leptin within the hypothalamus through central leptin gene therapy dose-dependently decreases weight gain, adiposity, and serum insulin by increasing energy expenditure and decreasing FI. The decrease in FI occurs only when NPY is reduced and alpha-MSH is increased in the hypothalamus by the high dose of rAAV-leptin. Delivery of the leptin gene centrally through rAAV vectors is a viable therapeutic modality for long-term control of weight and metabolic hormones.
    Molecular Therapy 09/2001; 4(2):139-45. · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The weight-reducing effects of leptin are predominantly mediated through the hypothalamus in the brain. Gene therapy strategies designed for weight control have so far tested the short-term effect of peripherally delivered viral vectors encoding the leptin gene. In order to circumvent the multiple peripheral effects of hyperleptinemia and to overcome the age-related development of leptin resistance due to multiple factors, including defective leptin transport across the blood brain barrier, we determined whether delivery of viral vectors directly into the brain is a viable therapeutic strategy for long-term weight control in normal wild-type rats. A recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector encoding rat leptin (Ob) cDNA was generated (rAAV-betaOb). When administered once intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.), rAAV-betaOb suppressed the normal time-related weight gain for extended periods of time in adult Sprague-Dawley rats. The vector expression was confirmed by immunocytochemical localization of GFP and RT-PCR analysis of leptin in the hypothalamus. This sustained restraint on weight gain was not due to shifts in caloric consumption because food-intake was similar in rAAV-betaOb-treated and rAAV-GFP-treated control rats throughout the experiment. Weight gain suppression, first apparent after 2 weeks, was a result of reduced white fat depots and was accompanied by drastically reduced serum leptin and insulin concentrations in conjunction with normoglycemia. Additionally, there was a marked increase in uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) mRNA expression in brown adipose tissue, thereby indicating increased energy expenditure through thermogenesis. Seemingly, a selective enhancement in energy expenditure following central delivery of the leptin gene is a viable therapeutic strategy to control the age-related weight gain and provide protection from the accompanying multiple peripheral effects of hyperleptinemia and hyperinsulinemia.
    Regulatory Peptides 07/2001; 99(2-3):69-77. · 2.06 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Neuroendocrinology 01/2001; 12(9):827-832. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the long-term effects of physiological levels of leptin produced by gene therapy on body weight (BW) and expression of genes that encode orexigenic and anorexigenic peptides in the hypothalamus. Recombinant adeno-associated viral vector (rAAV), a non-pathogenic and non-immunogenic vector, encoding leptin (betaOb) was generated and administered iv to ob/ob mice lacking endogenous leptin. Whereas the lowest dose of rAAV-betaOb (6x10(9) particles) was ineffective, the middle dose (6x10(10) particles) curbed BW gain without affecting food consumption for 75 days of observation. A ten-fold higher dose (6x10(11) particles) resulted in increased blood leptin levels and suppressed both BW gain and food consumption throughout the duration of the experiment. rAAV-betaOb doses that either curbed BW without affecting food consumption or evoked BW loss and reduced food intake, decreased the expression of genes encoding the orexigenic peptides, neuropeptide Y and agouti-related peptide in the ARC, and the two doses were equally effective. Concomitantly, the expression of genes encoding the anorexigenic peptide, alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone and cocaine-and-amphetamine regulatory transcript, was augmented with the latter gene displaying a dose-dependant response. These results document the efficacy of delivering biologically active leptin for extended periods by an iv injection of rAAV-betaOb and show that physiological leptin concentrations simultaneously exert a tonic inhibitory effect on orexigenic and a stimulatory effect on anorexigenic signaling in the hypothalamus. This intricate dynamic interplay induced by leptin regulates BW with or without an effect on food intake in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Further, these results suggest that gene therapy is an effective mode of delivery to the hypothalamus of those therapeutic proteins that cross the blood-brain barrier to ameliorate neuroendocrine disorders.
    Regulatory Peptides 09/2000; 92(1-3):97-105. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), a cytokine of the interleukin-6 superfamily, has been shown to induce hypophagia and weight loss. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and orexin are potent orexigenic signals in the hypothalamus. Anorexia, normally seen in response to infection, injury and inflammation, may result from diminished hypothalamic orexigenic signalling caused by persistently elevated cytokines, including CNTF. To test this hypothesis, we first examined the effects of chronic intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) infusion of CNTF for 6-7 days on food intake and body weight as well as hypothalamic NPY and orexin gene expression in male rats. Subsequently, the effectiveness of NPY replacement to counteract the effects of CNTF by coinfusion of NPY and CNTF was evaluated. Chronic i.c.v. infusion of CNTF (2.5 microg/day) reduced body weight (14.3% vs control) at the end of 7 days. Food intake remained suppressed for 5 days postinfusion and subsequently gradually returned to the control range by day 7. Serum leptin concentrations in these rats were in the same range seen in control rats. Chronic i.c.v. infusion of higher doses of CNTF (5.0 microg/day) produced sustained anorexia and body weight loss (29% vs controls) through the entire duration of the experiment. This severe anorexia was accompanied by markedly suppressed serum leptin concentrations. Furthermore, CNTF infusion alone significantly reduced hypothalamic NPY gene expression (P < 0. 05) without affecting orexin gene expression. As expected, in fusion of NPY alone (18 microg/day) augmented food intake (191.6% over the initial control, P < 0.05) and produced a 25.1% weight gain in conjunction with a 10-fold increase in serum leptin concentrations at the end of the 7-day period. Interestingly, coinfusion of this regimen of NPY with the highly effective anorectic and body reducing effects of CNTF (5.0 microg/day) not only prevented the CNTF-induced anorexia and weight loss, but also normalized serum leptin concentrations and hypothalamic NPY gene expression. These results demonstrate that chronic central infusion to produce a persistent elevation of the cytokine at pathophysiological levels (a situation that may normally manifest during infection, injury and inflammation) produced severe anorexia and weight loss in conjunction with reduction in both serum leptin concentrations and hypothalamic NPY gene expression. Reinstatement of hypothalamic NPY signalling by coinfusion of NPY counteracted these CNTF-induced responses.
    Journal of Neuroendocrinology 09/2000; 12(9):827-32. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the long-term effects of physiological levels of leptin produced by gene therapy on body weight (BW) and expression of genes that encode orexigenic and anorexigenic peptides in the hypothalamus. Recombinant adeno-associated viral vector (rAAV), a non-pathogenic and non-immunogenic vector, encoding leptin (βOb) was generated and administered iv to ob/ob mice lacking endogenous leptin. Whereas the lowest dose of rAAV-βOb (6×109 particles) was ineffective, the middle dose (6×1010 particles) curbed BW gain without affecting food consumption for 75 days of observation. A ten-fold higher dose (6×1011 particles) resulted in increased blood leptin levels and suppressed both BW gain and food consumption throughout the duration of the experiment. rAAV-βOb doses that either curbed BW without affecting food consumption or evoked BW loss and reduced food intake, decreased the expression of genes encoding the orexigenic peptides, neuropeptide Y and agouti-related peptide in the ARC, and the two doses were equally effective. Concomitantly, the expression of genes encoding the anorexigenic peptide, α-melanocyte stimulating hormone and cocaine-and-amphetamine regulatory transcript, was augmented with the latter gene displaying a dose-dependant response. These results document the efficacy of delivering biologically active leptin for extended periods by an iv injection of rAAV-βOb and show that physiological leptin concentrations simultaneously exert a tonic inhibitory effect on orexigenic and a stimulatory effect on anorexigenic signaling in the hypothalamus. This intricate dynamic interplay induced by leptin regulates BW with or without an effect on food intake in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Further, these results suggest that gene therapy is an effective mode of delivery to the hypothalamus of those therapeutic proteins that cross the blood–brain barrier to ameliorate neuroendocrine disorders.
    Regulatory Peptides 08/2000; 92(1):97-105. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    HARVEEN DHILLON
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Publication Stats

1k Citations
164.83 Total Impact Points

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Institutions

  • 2002–2010
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2001
    • McKnight Brain Institute
      Gainesville, Florida, United States
  • 2000–2001
    • University of Florida
      • College of Medicine
      Gainesville, FL, United States