[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1 ) polyclonal antibodies are widely used to detect the presence of CB1 in a variety of brain cells and their organelles, including neuronal mitochondria. Surprisingly, we found that anti-CB1 sera, in parallel with CB1 , also recognize the mitochondrial protein stomatin-like protein 2. In addition, we show that the previously reported effect of synthetic cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 on mitochondrial complex III respiration is not detectable in purified mitochondrial preparations. Thus, our study indicates that a direct relationship between endocannabinoid signaling and mitochondrial functions in the cerebral cortex seems unlikely, and that caution should be taken interpreting findings obtained using anti-CB1 antibodies.
European Journal of Neuroscience 04/2013; · 3.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintenance of reduced body weight in lean and obese human subjects results in the persistent decrease in energy expenditure below what can be accounted for by changes in body mass and composition. Genetic and developmental factors may determine a central nervous system (CNS)-mediated minimum threshold of somatic energy stores below which behavioral and metabolic compensations for weight loss are invoked. A critical question is whether this threshold can be altered by environmental influences and by what mechanisms such alterations might be achieved. We examined the bioenergetic, behavioral, and CNS structural responses to weight reduction of diet-induced obese (DIO) and never-obese (CON) C57BL/6J male mice. We found that weight-reduced (WR) DIO-WR and CON-WR animals showed reductions in energy expenditure, adjusted for body mass and composition, comparable (-10-15%) to those seen in human subjects. The proportion of excitatory synapses on arcuate nucleus proopiomelanocortin neurons was decreased by ∼50% in both DIO-WR and CON-WR mice. These data suggest that prolonged maintenance of an elevated body weight (fat) alters energy homeostatic systems to defend a higher level of body fat. The synaptic changes could provide a neural substrate for the disproportionate decline in energy expenditure in weight-reduced individuals. This response to chronic weight elevation may also occur in humans. The mouse model described here could help to identify the molecular/cellular mechanisms underlying both the defense mechanisms against sustained weight loss and the upward resetting of those mechanisms following sustained weight gain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ghrelin has a well-known role in the regulation of appetite, satiety, energy metabolism, and reproduction; however ghrelin has not been implicated in reproductive tract development. We examined the effect of ghrelin deficiency on the developmental programming of female fertility. We observed that female wild-type mice born of ghrelin heterozygote dams (i.e. exposed in utero to ghrelin deficiency) had diminished fertility and produced smaller litters. We demonstrate that exposure to in utero ghrelin deficiency led to altered developmental programming of the reproductive tract. The number of ovarian follicles, corpora lutea, and embryos produced were identical in both exposed and unexposed mice. However wild-type embryos transferred to uteri of mice exposed to in utero ghrelin deficiency had a 60% reduction in the rate of embryo implantation compared with those transferred to wild-type unexposed uteri. We identified significant alterations in the uterine expression of four genes critical for implantation and a defect in uterine endometrial proliferation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the mechanism of subfertility was abnormal endometrial function. In utero exposure to decreased levels of ghrelin led to defects in developmental programming of the uterus and subsequent subfertility in wild-type offspring.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have proposed roles for hypothalamic reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the modulation of circuit activity of the melanocortin system. Here we show that suppression of ROS diminishes pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) cell activation and promotes the activity of neuropeptide Y (NPY)- and agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-co-producing (NPY/AgRP) neurons and feeding, whereas ROS-activates POMC neurons and reduces feeding. The levels of ROS in POMC neurons were positively correlated with those of leptin in lean and ob/ob mice, a relationship that was diminished in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. High-fat feeding resulted in proliferation of peroxisomes and elevated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPAR-γ) mRNA levels within the hypothalamus. The proliferation of peroxisomes in POMC neurons induced by the PPAR-γ agonist rosiglitazone decreased ROS levels and increased food intake in lean mice on high-fat diet. Conversely, the suppression of peroxisome proliferation by the PPAR antagonist GW9662 increased ROS concentrations and c-fos expression in POMC neurons. Also, it reversed high-fat feeding-triggered elevated NPY/AgRP and low POMC neuronal firing, and resulted in decreased feeding of DIO mice. Finally, central administration of ROS alone increased c-fos and phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (pStat3) expression in POMC neurons and reduced feeding of DIO mice. These observations unmask a previously unknown hypothalamic cellular process associated with peroxisomes and ROS in the central regulation of energy metabolism in states of leptin resistance.
Nature medicine 01/2011; 17(9):1121-7. · 27.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity is associated with increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several types of cancers. The hypothalamus is a region of the brain critical in the regulation of body weight. One of the critical and best studied hypothalamic circuits is comprised of the melanocortinergic orexigenic agouti-related protein (AgRP) and anorexigenic α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) neurons. These neurons project axons to the same hypothalamic target neurons and balance each other's activity leading to body weight regulation. We previously showed that the brain proteoglycan syndecan-3 regulates feeding behavior and body weight, and syndecan-3 null (SDC-3(-/-)) mice are lean and obesity resistant. Here we show that the melanocortin agonist Melanotan II (MTII) potently suppresses food intake and activates the hypothalamic paraventricular nuclei (PVN) in SDC-3(-/-) mice based on c-fos immunoreactivity. Interestingly, we determined that the AgRP neuropeptide is reduced in the PVN of SDC-3(-/-) mice compared to wild type mice. In contrast, neuropeptide Y, coexpressed in the AgRP neuron, is not differentially expressed nor is the counteracting neuropeptide α-MSH. These findings are unprecedented and indicate that AgRP protein localization can be selectively regulated within the hypothalamus resulting in altered neuropeptide response and tone.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuronal circuits involved in the regulation of feeding behavior and energy expenditure are soft-wired, reflecting the relative activity of the postsynaptic neuronal system, including the anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-expressing cells of the arcuate nucleus. We analyzed the synaptic input organization of the melanocortin system in lean rats that were vulnerable (DIO) or resistant (DR) to diet-induced obesity. We found a distinct difference in the quantitative and qualitative synaptology of POMC cells between DIO and DR animals, with a significantly greater number of inhibitory inputs in the POMC neurons in DIO rats compared with DR rats. When exposed to a high-fat diet (HFD), the POMC cells of DIO animals lost synapses, whereas those of DR rats recruited connections. In both DIO rats and mice, the HFD-triggered loss of synapses on POMC neurons was associated with increased glial ensheathment of the POMC perikarya. The altered synaptic organization of HFD-fed animals promoted increased POMC tone and a decrease in the stimulatory connections onto the neighboring neuropeptide Y (NPY) cells. Exposure to HFD was associated with reactive gliosis, and this affected the structure of the blood-brain barrier such that the POMC and NPY cell bodies and dendrites became less accessible to blood vessels. Taken together, these data suggest that consumption of an HFD has a major impact on the cytoarchitecture of the arcuate nucleus in vulnerable subjects, with changes that might be irreversible due to reactive gliosis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2010; 107(33):14875-80. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the role of specific fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) in cortical development, we conditionally inactivated Fgfr2 or both Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 [Fgfr2 conditional knock-out (cKO) or double knock-out mice, respectively] in radial glial cells of the dorsal telencephalon. Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 are necessary for the attainment of a normal number of excitatory neurons in the cerebral cortex. The action of FGF receptors appears to be through increasing self-renewal of neuronal precursors within the ventricular zone. Volume measurements, assessments of excitatory neuron number, and areal marker expression suggested that the proper formation of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) depends on the function of Fgfr2, whereas Fgfr1 together with Fgfr2 control excitatory cortical neuron development within the entire cerebral cortex. Fgfr2 cKO mice had fewer and smaller glutamate synaptic terminals in the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (BST), a projection area for mPFC cortical neurons. Furthermore, Fgfr2 cKO mice showed secondary decreases in GABAergic neurons in the BST and septum. These data demonstrate that FGFR2 signaling expands the number of excitatory neurons in the mPFC and secondarily influences target neurons in subcortical stations of the limbic system.
Journal of Neuroscience 04/2010; 30(16):5590-602. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased sensory input from maternal care attenuates neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to stress long term and results in a lifelong phenotype of resilience to depression and improved cognitive function. Whereas the mechanisms of this clinically important effect remain unclear, the early, persistent suppression of the expression of the stress neurohormone corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in hypothalamic neurons has been implicated as a key aspect of this experience-induced neuroplasticity. Here, we tested whether the innervation of hypothalamic CRH neurons of rat pups that received augmented maternal care was altered in a manner that might promote the suppression of CRH expression and studied the cellular mechanisms underlying this suppression. We found that the number of excitatory synapses and the frequency of miniature excitatory synaptic currents onto CRH neurons were reduced in "care-augmented" rats compared with controls, as were the levels of the glutamate vesicular transporter vGlut2. In contrast, analogous parameters of inhibitory synapses were unchanged. Levels of the transcriptional repressor neuron-restrictive silencer factor (NRSF), which negatively regulates Crh gene transcription, were markedly elevated in care-augmented rats, and chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated that this repressor was bound to a cognate element (neuron-restrictive silencing element) on the Crh gene. Whereas the reduced excitatory innervation of CRH-expressing neurons dissipated by adulthood, increased NRSF levels and repression of CRH expression persisted, suggesting that augmented early-life experience reprograms Crh gene expression via mechanisms involving transcriptional repression by NRSF.
Journal of Neuroscience 01/2010; 30(2):703-13. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sites of insulin action in the central nervous system that regulate glucose metabolism and energy expenditure are incompletely characterized. We have shown that mice with hypothalamic deficiency (L1) of insulin receptors (InsRs) fail to regulate hepatic glucose production (HGP) in response to insulin.
To distinguish neurons that mediate insulin's effects on HGP from those that regulate energy homeostasis, we used targeted knock-ins to express InsRs in agouti-related protein (AgRP) or proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons of L1 mice.
Restoration of insulin action in AgRP neurons normalized insulin suppression of HGP. Surprisingly, POMC-specific InsR knock-in increased energy expenditure and locomotor activity, exacerbated insulin resistance and increased HGP, associated with decreased expression of the ATP-sensitive K(+) channel (K(ATP) channel) sulfonylurea receptor 1 subunit, and decreased inhibitory synaptic contacts on POMC neurons.
The contrasting phenotypes of InsR knock-ins in POMC and AgRP neurons suggest a branched-pathway model of hypothalamic insulin signaling in which InsR signaling in AgRP neurons decreases HGP, whereas InsR activation in POMC neurons promotes HGP and activates the melanocortinergic energy expenditure program.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs) are a relatively abundant group of plasma lipids of unknown physiological significance. Here, we show that NAPEs are secreted into circulation from the small intestine in response to ingested fat and that systemic administration of the most abundant circulating NAPE, at physiologic doses, decreases food intake in rats without causing conditioned taste aversion. Furthermore, (14)C-radiolabeled NAPE enters the brain and is particularly concentrated in the hypothalamus, and intracerebroventricular infusions of nanomolar amounts of NAPE reduce food intake, collectively suggesting that its effects may be mediated through direct interactions with the central nervous system. Finally, chronic NAPE infusion results in a reduction of both food intake and body weight, suggesting that NAPE and long-acting NAPE analogs may be novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of obesity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gut-derived hormone ghrelin exerts its effect on the brain by regulating neuronal activity. Ghrelin-induced feeding behaviour is controlled by arcuate nucleus neurons that co-express neuropeptide Y and agouti-related protein (NPY/AgRP neurons). However, the intracellular mechanisms triggered by ghrelin to alter NPY/AgRP neuronal activity are poorly understood. Here we show that ghrelin initiates robust changes in hypothalamic mitochondrial respiration in mice that are dependent on uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2). Activation of this mitochondrial mechanism is critical for ghrelin-induced mitochondrial proliferation and electric activation of NPY/AgRP neurons, for ghrelin-triggered synaptic plasticity of pro-opiomelanocortin-expressing neurons, and for ghrelin-induced food intake. The UCP2-dependent action of ghrelin on NPY/AgRP neurons is driven by a hypothalamic fatty acid oxidation pathway involving AMPK, CPT1 and free radicals that are scavenged by UCP2. These results reveal a signalling modality connecting mitochondria-mediated effects of G-protein-coupled receptors on neuronal function and associated behaviour.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sleep is a natural process that preserves energy, facilitates development, and restores the nervous system in higher animals. Sleep loss resulting from physiological and pathological conditions exerts tremendous pressure on neuronal circuitry responsible for sleep-wake regulation. It is not yet clear how acute and chronic sleep loss modify neuronal activities and lead to adaptive changes in animals. Here, we show that acute and chronic prolonged wakefulness in mice induced by modafinil treatment produced long-term potentiation (LTP) of glutamatergic synapses on hypocretin/orexin neurons in the lateral hypothalamus, a well-established arousal/wake-promoting center. A similar potentiation of synaptic strength at glutamatergic synapses on hypocretin/orexin neurons was also seen when mice were sleep deprived for 4 hours by gentle handling. Blockade of dopamine D1 receptors attenuated prolonged wakefulness and synaptic plasticity in these neurons, suggesting that modafinil functions through activation of the dopamine system. Also, activation of the cAMP pathway was not able to further induce LTP at glutamatergic synapses in brain slices from mice treated with modafinil. These results indicate that synaptic plasticity due to prolonged wakefulness occurs in circuits responsible for arousal and may contribute to changes in the brain and body of animals experiencing sleep loss.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 01/2008; 117(12):4022-33. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The contribution of different leptin-induced signaling pathways in control of energy homeostasis is only partly understood. Here we show that selective Pten ablation in leptin-sensitive neurons (Pten(DeltaObRb)) results in enhanced Pi3k activation in these cells and reduces adiposity by increasing energy expenditure. White adipose tissue (WAT) of Pten(DeltaObRb) mice shows characteristics of brown adipose tissue (BAT), reflected by increased mitochondrial content and Ucp1 expression resulting from enhanced leptin-stimulated sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) in WAT. In contrast, leptin-deficient ob/ob-Pten(DeltaObRb) mice exhibit unaltered body weight and WAT morphology compared to ob/ob mice, pointing to a pivotal role of endogenous leptin in control of WAT transdifferentiation. Leanness of Pten(DeltaObRb) mice is accompanied by enhanced sensitivity to insulin in skeletal muscle. These data provide direct genetic evidence that leptin-stimulated Pi3k signaling in the CNS regulates energy expenditure via activation of SNA to perigonadal WAT leading to BAT-like differentiation of WAT.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Orexin neuropeptides regulate arousal state and excite the noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC), so it is plausible that an age-related loss of orexin neurons and projections to the LC contributes to poor sleep quality in elderly humans and nonhuman primates. To test this hypothesis we examined orexin B-immunoreactivity in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) and the LC of male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) throughout the life span. Orexin perikarya, localized predominantly in the LHA, showed identical distribution patterns irrespective of age. Similarly, orexin neuron number and serum orexin B concentrations did not differ with age. In contrast, orexin B-immunoreactive axon density in the LC of old animals was significantly lower than that observed in the young or adult animals. Furthermore, the age-related decline was associated with a significant decrease in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA in the LC, despite no change in TH-immunoreactive neuron number. Taken together, these data suggest that age-related decreases in excitatory orexin innervation to the noradrenergic LC may contribute to the etiology of poor sleep quality in the elderly.
Neurobiology of aging 09/2007; 28(8):1286-95. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gut hormone ghrelin targets the brain to promote food intake and adiposity. The ghrelin receptor growth hormone secretagogue 1 receptor (GHSR) is present in hypothalamic centers controlling energy metabolism as well as in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a region important for motivational aspects of multiple behaviors, including feeding. Here we show that in mice and rats, ghrelin bound to neurons of the VTA, where it triggered increased dopamine neuronal activity, synapse formation, and dopamine turnover in the nucleus accumbens in a GHSR-dependent manner. Direct VTA administration of ghrelin also triggered feeding, while intra-VTA delivery of a selective GHSR antagonist blocked the orexigenic effect of circulating ghrelin and blunted rebound feeding following fasting. In addition, ghrelin- and GHSR-deficient mice showed attenuated feeding responses to restricted feeding schedules. Taken together, these data suggest that the mesolimbic reward circuitry is targeted by peripheral ghrelin to influence physiological mechanisms related to feeding.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 01/2007; 116(12):3229-39. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leptin and insulin have been identified as fuel sensors acting in part through their hypothalamic receptors to inhibit food intake and stimulate energy expenditure. As their intracellular signaling converges at the PI3K pathway, we directly addressed the role of phosphatidylinositol3,4,5-trisphosphate-mediated (PIP3-mediated) signals in hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons by inactivating the gene for the PIP3 phosphatase Pten specifically in this cell type. Here we show that POMC-specific disruption of Pten resulted in hyperphagia and sexually dimorphic diet-sensitive obesity. Although leptin potently stimulated Stat3 phosphorylation in POMC neurons of POMC cell-restricted Pten knockout (PPKO) mice, it failed to significantly inhibit food intake in vivo. POMC neurons of PPKO mice showed a marked hyperpolarization and a reduction in basal firing rate due to increased ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel activity. Leptin was not able to elicit electrical activity in PPKO POMC neurons, but application of the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 and the KATP blocker tolbutamide restored electrical activity and leptin-evoked firing of POMC neurons in these mice. Moreover, icv administration of tolbutamide abolished hyperphagia in PPKO mice. These data indicate that PIP3-mediated signals are critical regulators of the melanocortin system via modulation of KATP channels.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 08/2006; 116(7):1886-901. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) exerts anorectic effects by overcoming leptin resistance via activation of hypothalamic neurons. However, the exact site of CNTF action in the hypothalamus has not yet been identified. Using Cre-loxP-mediated recombination in vivo, we have selectively ablated the common cytokine signaling chain gp130, which is required for functional CNTF signaling, in proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-expressing neurons. POMC-specific gp130 knockout mice exhibit unaltered numbers of POMC cells and normal energy homeostasis under standard and high fat diet. Endotoxin (LPS) and stress-induced anorexia and adrenocorticotropin regulation were unaffected in these animals. Strikingly, the anorectic effect of centrally administered CNTF was abolished in POMC-specific gp130 knockout mice. Correspondingly, in these animals, CNTF failed to activate STAT3 phosphorylation in POMC neurons and to induce c-Fos expression in the paraventricular nucleus. These data reveal POMC neurons as a critical site of CNTF action in mediating its anorectic effect.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2006; 103(28):10707-12. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple hormones controlling energy homeostasis regulate the expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Nevertheless, inactivation of the genes encoding NPY and/or AgRP has no impact on food intake in mice. Here we demonstrate that induced selective ablation of AgRP-expressing neurons in adult mice results in acute reduction of feeding, demonstrating direct evidence for a critical role of these neurons in the regulation of energy homeostasis.