Kirsty L Smith

Imperial College London, London, ENG, United Kingdom

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Publications (14)41.75 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: To investigate whether gastric bypass induces a higher activity of brown adipose tissue and greater levels of the brown adipose tissue-specific protein uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1) in rats. Gastric bypass rats and sham-operated controls (each n = 8) underwent whole body (1)H-MR spectroscopy for analysis of body composition and (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography ((18)F-FDG PET/CT) imaging for measurement of the metabolic activity of brown adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue was harvested and weighed, and UCP-1 mRNA content was measured by Northern Blot technique. Gastric bypass rats had a significantly lower percentage of whole body adipose tissue mass compared to sham-operated rats (p = 0.001). There was no difference in brown adipose tissue activity between the two groups (standardised uptake value sham 2.81 ± 0.58 vs. bypass 2.56 ± 0.46 ; p = 0.73). Furthermore, there was no difference in the UCP-1 mRNA content of brown adipose tissue between the two groups (sham 49.5 ± 13.2 vs. bypass 43.7 ± 13.1; p = 0.77). Gastric bypass does not increase the activity of brown adipose tissue in rats suggesting that other mechanisms are involved to explain the increased energy expenditure after bypass surgery. Our results cannot justify the radiation dose of (18)F-FDG PET/CT studies in humans to determine potential changes in brown adipose tissue after gastric bypass surgery.
    Obesity Facts 06/2012; 5(3):349-58. · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is a 28 amino acid peptide expressed throughout the peripheral and central nervous systems. VIP and the VIP receptor VPAC(2)R are expressed in hypothalamic nuclei involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis. VIP has been shown to be involved in the regulation of energy balance in a number of non-mammalian vertebrates. We therefore examined the effects of intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of VIP on food intake, energy expenditure and activity in adult male Wistar rats. VIP administration caused a potent short lived decrease in food intake and an increase in activity and energy expenditure. The pathways potentially involved in the anorexigenic effects of VIP were investigated by measuring the release of neuropeptides involved in the regulation of food intake from hypothalamic explants treated with VIP. VIP significantly stimulated the release of the anorexigenic peptide alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (αMSH). These studies suggest that VIP may have an endogenous role in the hypothalamic control of energy homeostasis.
    Regulatory Peptides 07/2011; 172(1-3):8-15. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Laboratory animals are crucial in the study of energy homeostasis. In particular, rats are used to study alterations in food intake and body weight. To accurately record food intake or energy expenditure it is necessary to house rats individually, which can be stressful for social animals. Environmental enrichment may reduce stress and improve welfare in laboratory rodents. However, the effect of environmental enrichment on food intake and thus experimental outcome is unknown. We aimed to determine the effect of environmental enrichment on food intake, body weight, behavior and fecal and plasma stress hormones in male Wistar rats. Singly housed 5-7-week-old male rats were given either no environmental enrichment, chew sticks, a plastic tube of 67 mm internal diameter, or both chew sticks and a tube. No differences in body weight or food intake were seen over a 7-day period. Importantly, the refeeding response following a 24-h fast was unaffected by environmental enrichment. Rearing, a behavior often associated with stress, was significantly reduced in all enriched groups compared to controls. There was a significant increase in fecal immunoglobulin A (IgA) in animals housed with both forms of enrichment compared to controls at the termination of the study, suggesting enrichment reduces hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity in singly housed rats. In summary, environmental enrichment does not influence body weight and food intake in singly housed male Wistar rats and may therefore be used to refine the living conditions of animals used in the study of energy homeostasis without compromising experimental outcome.
    Obesity 01/2011; 19(8):1715-21. · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Xenin is a 25-amino acid peptide highly homologous to neurotensin. Xenin and neurotensin are reported to have similar biological effects. Both reduce food intake when administered centrally to fasted rats. We aimed to clarify and compare the effects of these peptides on food intake and behavior. We confirm that intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of xenin or neurotensin reduces food intake in fasted rats, and demonstrate that both reduce food intake in satiated rats during the dark phase. Xenin reduced food intake more potently than neurotensin following ICV administration. ICV injection of either peptide in the dark phase increased resting behavior. Xenin and neurotensin stimulated the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) from ex vivo hypothalamic explants, and administration of alpha-helical CRH attenuated their effects on food intake. Intraperitoneal (IP) administration of xenin or neurotensin acutely reduced food intake in fasted mice and ad libitum fed mice in the dark phase. However, chronic continuous or twice daily peripheral administration of xenin or neurotensin to mice had no significant effect on daily food intake or body weight. These studies confirm that ICV xenin or neurotensin can acutely reduce food intake and demonstrate that peripheral administration of xenin and neurotensin also reduces food intake. This may be partly mediated by changes in hypothalamic CRH release. The lack of chronic effects on body weight observed in our experiments suggests that xenin and neurotensin are unlikely to be useful as obesity therapies.
    Obesity 03/2009; 17(6):1135-43. · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) codes for a hypothalamic neuropeptide, CART (55-102), which inhibits food intake. Intracerebroventricular injection of CART (55-102) reduces appetite, but also results in motor abnormalities. More recently, studies have demonstrated that administration of CART directly into the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) increases food intake. To investigate the role of CART in the regulation of energy balance in the PVN, we used recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) to overexpress CART in the PVN. Male Wistar rats were injected with either rAAV-encoding CART (rAAV-CART) or rAAV-encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein (rAAV-EGFP) as a control. Food intake and body weight were measured regularly. Animals were fed on normal-chow diet for the first 93 days of the study. After this point, they were fed on high-fat diet. Animals were killed 138 days postinjection and blood and tissues were collected for analysis. Overexpression of CART in the PVN resulted in increased cumulative food intake and body weight gain compared with rAAV-EGFP controls when fed normal chow. These changes became significant at day 65 and 79, respectively and were accentuated on a high-fat diet. A 4% increase in food intake was observed in rAAV-CART animals on a normal-chow diet and a 6% increase when fed a high-fat diet. At the end of the study, rAAV-CART-treated animals had higher circulating leptin concentrations in accord with their higher body weight. These data provide further evidence that hypothalamic CART plays an orexigenic role.
    Obesity 08/2008; 16(10):2239-44. · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The balance between energy (food) intake and energy expenditure is closely regulated to keep body weight stable over time. Increasingly, however, the homeostatic mechanisms responsible are failing to keep pace with societal changes in eating behaviour and activity levels. The prevalence of obesity in many parts of the world has now reached epidemic proportions. It is estimated that it causes 30,000 deaths per year in the UK, and in the USA it is set to overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death [1, 2]. Current strategies for the non-surgical treatment of the morbidly obese have met with limited success [3–5] and without the development of more effective treatments, the socioeconomic and public health implications of an unchecked rise in obesity are grave.
    07/2008: pages 81-99;
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    ABSTRACT: Neuropeptide S (NPS) is a recently discovered peptide shown to be involved in the modulation of arousal and fear responses. It has also been shown that lateral ventricle administration of NPS causes a significant decrease in food intake. Neuropeptides involved in the modulation of arousal have been shown to be involved in the regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and food intake. In this study, we have examined the effect of intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of NPS on behavior, regulation of the HPA axis, and food intake. ICV NPS significantly increased plasma ACTH and corticosterone 10 and 40 min after injection, respectively. A single ICV injection of NPS caused a significant increase in rearing activity as well as ambulatory movement for up to 45 min after injection. We then studied the effect of paraventricular nucleus (PVN) administration of NPS on the regulation of the HPA axis, behavior, and food intake. There was a significant increase in plasma ACTH and corticosterone after a single NPS PVN injection. Incubation of hypothalamic explants with increasing concentrations of NPS caused a significant increase in CRH and arginine vasopressin release. In addition, PVN administration of NPS dose-dependently inhibited food intake in the first hour after injection, although no effect on food intake was seen after this time. PVN administration of NPS caused a significant increase in rearing activity. These data demonstrate a novel role for NPS in the stimulation of the HPA axis.
    Endocrinology 08/2006; 147(7):3510-8. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of the hypothalamic neuropeptide neuromedin U (NMU) or the adipostat hormone leptin increases plasma ACTH and corticosterone. The relationship between leptin and NMU in the regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is currently unknown. In this study, leptin (1 nm) significantly increased the release of CRH from ex vivo hypothalamic explants by 207 +/- 8.4% (P < 0.05 vs. basal), an effect blocked by the administration of anti-NMU IgG. The ICV administration of leptin (10 mug, 0.625 nmol) increased plasma ACTH and corticosterone 20 min after injection [plasma ACTH (picograms per milliliter): vehicle, 63 +/- 20, leptin, 135 +/- 36, P < 0.05; plasma corticosterone (nanograms per milliliter): vehicle, 285 +/- 39, leptin, 452 +/- 44, P < 0.01]. These effects were partially attenuated by the prior administration of anti-NMU IgG. Peripheral leptin also stimulated ACTH release, an effect attenuated by prior ICV administration of anti-NMU IgG. We examined the diurnal pattern of hypothalamic NMU mRNA expression and peptide content, plasma leptin, and plasma corticosterone. The diurnal changes in hypothalamic NMU mRNA expression were positively correlated with hypothalamic NMU peptide content, plasma corticosterone, and plasma leptin. The ICV administration of anti-NMU IgG significantly attenuated the dark phase rise in corticosterone [corticosterone (nanograms per milliliter): vehicle, 493 +/- 38; NMU IgG, 342 +/- 47 (P < 0.05)]. These studies suggest that NMU may play a role in the regulation of the HPA axis and partially mediate leptin-induced HPA stimulation.
    Endocrinology 06/2006; 147(6):2886-92. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies of transgenic mice and humans have provided compelling evidence for the importance of the hypothalamic melanocortin system in the regulation of energy balance. Energy homeostasis is a balance between food intake (energy input) and energy expenditure. The melanocortin system regulates feeding via effects of the endogenous agonist, alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) and the endogenous antagonist agouti-related protein (AGRP) on melanocortin 3 and 4 receptors (MC3-Rs and MC4-Rs). It has been demonstrated that the melanocortin system interacts with the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Thyroid hormones influence metabolism and hence energy expenditure. Therefore, an interaction between the HPT axis and the melanocortin system would allow control of both sides of the energy balance equation, by the regulation of both energy input and energy expenditure. Here we will discuss the evidence demonstrating interactions between the melanocortin system and the HPT axis.
    Peptides 03/2006; 27(2):333-9. · 2.52 Impact Factor
  • Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes. 01/2006; 13(1):62-64.
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    ABSTRACT: Intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of Neuromedin U (NMU), a hypothalamic neuropeptide, or leptin, an adipostat hormone released from adipose tissue, reduces food intake and increases energy expenditure. Leptin stimulates the release of NMU in vitro, and NMU expression is reduced in models of low or absent leptin. We investigated the role of NMU in mediating leptin-induced satiety. ICV administration of anti-NMU immunoglobulin G (IgG) (5 nmol) to satiated rats significantly increased food intake 4 h after injection, an effect seen for </=8 h after injection. ICV administration of NMU (1 nmol) to fasted rats reduced food intake 1 h after injection compared with control, an effect attenuated by pretreatment with anti-NMU IgG. ICV administration of leptin (0.625 nmol) reduced 24-h food intake. This was partially attenuated by the administration of anti-NMU IgG [24 h after onset of dark phase: vehicle, 22.5 +/- 2.0 g; leptin, 13.7 +/- 2.3 g (P < 0.005 vs. vehicle), leptin/NMU IgG, 19.4 +/- 1.3 g (P < 0.05 vs. leptin)]. Intraperitoneal administration of leptin (1.1 mg/kg body wt) reduced 24-h food intake. This was partially attenuated by ICV administration of anti-NMU IgG [24 h after onset of dark phase: vehicle, 31.4 +/- 4.9 g; leptin, 20.8 +/- 2.6 g (P < 0.01 vs. vehicle); leptin/NMU IgG, 28.7 +/- 1.1 g (P < 0.01 vs. leptin)]. These results suggest that NMU plays a physiological role in the regulation of appetite and partially mediates the leptin-induced satiety.
    AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 09/2005; 289(2):E301-5. · 4.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The vagus nerve forms a neuro-anatomical link between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. A number of gastrointestinal hormones, including cholecystokinin and ghrelin, require an intact vagal-brainstem-hypothalamic pathway to affect CNS feeding circuits. We have shown that the effects of peripheral administration of both peptide YY(3-36) (PYY(3-36)) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) on food intake and activation of hypothalamic arcuate feeding neurones are abolished following either bilateral sub-diaphragmatic total truncal vagotomy or brainstem-hypothalamic pathway transectioning in rodents. These findings suggest that the vagal-brainstem-hypothalamic pathway may also play a role in the effects of circulating PYY(3-36) and GLP-1 on food intake.
    Brain Research 06/2005; 1044(1):127-31. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the hypothalamus is involved in the regulation of food intake. Because exercise is known to influence appetite and cause substrate depletion, it may also influence AMPK in the hypothalamus. Male rats that either rested or ran for 30 or 60 min on a treadmill (22 m/min, 10% slope) were sacrificed immediately after exercise or after 60 min recovery either in the fasted state or after oral gavage with glucose (3g/kg body weight). Exercise decreased muscle and liver glycogen substantially. Hypothalamic total or alpha2-associated AMPK activity and phosphorylation state of the AMPK substrate acetyl-CoA carboxylase were not changed significantly immediately following treadmill running or during fed or fasted recovery. Plasma ghrelin increased (P<0.05) by 40% during exercise whereas the concentration of PYY was unchanged. In recovery, glucose feeding increased plasma glucose and insulin concentrations whereas ghrelin and PYY decreased to (ghrelin) or below (PPY) resting levels. It is concluded that 1h of strenuous exercise in rats does not elicit significant changes in hypothalamic AMPK activity despite an increase in plasma ghrelin. Thus, changes in energy metabolism during or after exercise are likely not coordinated by changes in hypothalamic AMPK activity.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 05/2005; 329(2):719-25. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased food intake is characteristic of hyperthyroidism, although this is presumed to compensate for a state of negative energy balance. However, here we show that the thyroid hormone T(3) directly stimulates feeding at the level of the hypothalamus. Peripheral administration of T(3) doubled food intake in ad libitum-fed rats over 2 h and induced expression of the immediate early gene, early growth response-1, in the hypothalamic ventromedial nucleus (VMN), whereas maintaining plasma-free T(3) levels within the normal range. T(3)-induced feeding occurred without altering energy expenditure or locomotion. Injection of T(3) directly into the VMN produced a 4-fold increase in food intake in the first hour. The majority of T(3) in the brain is reported to be produced by tissue-specific conversion of T(4) to T(3) by the enzyme type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (D2). Hypothalamic D2 mRNA expression showed a diurnal variation, with a peak in the nocturnal feeding phase. Hypothalamic D2 mRNA levels also increased after a 12- and 24-h fast, suggesting that local production of T(3) may play a role in this T(3) feeding circuit. Thus, we propose a novel hypothalamic feeding circuit in which T(3), from the peripheral circulation or produced by local conversion, stimulates food intake via the VMN.
    Endocrinology 12/2004; 145(11):5252-8. · 4.72 Impact Factor