Gregory J Morton

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (75)609.5 Total impact

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    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Based largely on a number of short-term administration studies, growing evidence suggests that central oxytocin is important in the regulation of energy balance. The goal of the current work is to determine if long-term third ventricular (3V) infusion of oxytocin into the CNS is effective for obesity prevention and/or treatment in rat models. We found that chronic 3V oxytocin infusion between 21-26 days by osmotic minipumps both reduced weight gain associated with the progression of high fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity and elicited a sustained reduction of fat mass with no decrease of lean mass in rats with established diet-induced obesity. We further demonstrated that these chronic oxytocin effects result from 1) maintenance of energy expenditure at pre-intervention levels despite ongoing weight loss, 2) a reduction in respiratory quotient, consistent with increased fat oxidation, and 3) an enhanced satiety response to CCK-8 and associated decrease of meal size. These weight-reducing effects persisted for approximately 10 days after termination of 3V oxytocin administration and occurred independently of whether sucrose was added to the HFD. We conclude that long-term 3V administration of oxytocin to rats can both prevent and treat diet-induced obesity .
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
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    ABSTRACT: Leptin administration restores euglycemia in rodents with severe insulin-deficient diabetes, and recent studies to explain this phenomenon have focused on the ability of leptin to normalize excessive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. Here, we employed a streptozotocin-induced rat model (STZ-DM) of uncontrolled insulin-deficient diabetes mellitus (uDM) to investigate the contribution of HPA axis suppression to leptin-mediated glucose lowering. Specifically, we asked if HPA axis activation is required for diabetic hyperglycemia, whether HPA axis normalization can be achieved using a dose of leptin below that needed to normalize glycemia, and if the ability of leptin to lower plasma glucocorticoid levels is required for its antidiabetic action. In STZ-DM rats, neither adrenalectomy-induced (ADX-induced) glucocorticoid deficiency nor pharmacological glucocorticoid receptor blockade lowered elevated blood glucose levels. Although elevated plasma levels of corticosterone were normalized by i.v. leptin infusion at a dose that raises low plasma levels into the physiological range, diabetic hyperglycemia was not altered. Lastly, the potent glucose-lowering effect of continuous intracerebroventricular leptin infusion was not impacted by systemic administration of corticosterone at a dose that maintained elevated plasma levels characteristic of STZ-DM. We conclude that, although restoring low plasma leptin levels into the physiological range effectively normalizes increased HPA axis activity in rats with uDM, this effect is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain leptin's antidiabetic action.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Clinical Investigation
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Central administration of ligands for fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) such as fibroblast growth factor-19 (FGF19) and FGF21 exert glucose-lowering effects in rodent models of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Conversely, intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of the non-selective FGFR inhibitor (FGFRi) PD173074 causes glucose intolerance, implying a physiological role for neuronal FGFR signaling in glucose homeostasis. The current studies were undertaken to identify neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying the glucose intolerance induced by pharmacological blockade of central FGFRs. Methods Overnight fasted, lean, male, Long-Evans rats received icv injections of either PD173074 or vehicle (Veh) followed 30 min later by performance of a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT). Minimal model analysis of glucose and insulin data from the FSIGT was performed to estimate insulin-dependent and insulin-independent components of glucose disposal. Plasma levels of lactate, glucagon, corticosterone, non-esterified free fatty acids (NEFA) and catecholamines were measured before and after intravenous (iv) glucose injection. Results Within 20 min of icv PD173074 injection (prior to the FSIGT), plasma levels of lactate, norepinephrine and epinephrine increased markedly, and each returned to baseline rapidly (within 8 min) following the iv glucose bolus. In contrast, plasma glucagon levels were not altered by icv FGFRi at either time point. Consistent with a previous report, glucose tolerance was impaired following icv PD173074 compared to Veh injection and, based on minimal model analysis of FSIGT data, this effect was attributable to reductions of both insulin secretion and the basal insulin effect (BIE), consistent with the inhibitory effect of catecholamines on pancreatic β-cell secretion. By comparison, there were no changes in glucose effectiveness at zero insulin (GEZI) or the insulin sensitivity index (SI). To determine if iv glucose (given during the FSIGT) contributed to the rapid resolution of the sympathoadrenal response induced by icv FGFRi, we performed an additional study comparing groups that received iv saline or iv glucose 30 min after icv FGFRi. Our finding that elevated plasma catecholamine levels returned rapidly to baseline irrespective of whether rats subsequently received an iv bolus of saline or glucose indicates that the rapid reversal of sympathoadrenal activation following icv FGFRi was unrelated to the subsequent glucose bolus. Conclusions The effect of acute inhibition of central FGFR signaling to impair glucose tolerance likely involves a stress response associated with pronounced, but transient, sympathoadrenal activation and an associated reduction of insulin secretion. Whether this effect is a true consequence of FGFR blockade or involves an off-target effect of the FGFR inhibitor requires additional study.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Molecular Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: The lean body weight phenotype of hepatic lipase (HL)-deficient mice (hl(-/-)) suggests that HL is required for normal weight gain, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. HL plays a unique role in lipoprotein metabolism performing bridging as well as catalytic functions, either of which could participate in energy homeostasis. To determine if both the catalytic and bridging functions or the catalytic function alone are required for the effect of HL on body weight, we studied (hl(-/-)) mice that transgenically express physiologic levels of human (h)HL (with catalytic and bridging functions) or a catalytically-inactive (ci)HL variant (with bridging function only) in which the catalytic Serine 145 was mutated to Alanine. As expected, HL activity in postheparin plasma was restored to physiologic levels only in hHL-transgenic mice (hl(-/-)hHL). During high-fat diet feeding, hHL-transgenic mice exhibited increased body weight gain and body adiposity relative to hl(-/-)ciHL mice. A similar, albeit less robust effect was observed in female hHL-transgenic relative to hl(-/-)ciHL mice. To delineate the basis for this effect, we determined cumulative food intake and measured energy expenditure using calorimetry. Interestingly, in both genders, food intake was 5-10% higher in hl(-/-)hHL mice relative to hl(-/-)ciHL controls. Similarly, energy expenditure was ~10% lower in HL-transgenic mice after adjusting for differences in total body weight. Our results demonstrate that (1) the catalytic function of HL is required to rescue the lean body weight phenotype of hl(-/-) mice; (2) this effect involves complementary changes in both sides of the energy balance equation; and (3) the bridging function alone is insufficient to rescue the lean phenotype of hl(-/-)ciHL mice. © 2015 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American Physiological Society and the Physiological Society.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Survival of free-living animals depends on the ability to maintain core body temperature in the face of rapid and dramatic changes in their thermal environment. If food intake is not adjusted to meet the changing energy demands associated with changes of ambient temperature, a serious challenge to body energy stores can occur. To more fully understand the coupling of thermoregulation to energy homeostasis in normal animals and to investigate the role of the adipose hormone leptin to this process, comprehensive measures of energy homeostasis and core temperature were obtained in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice and their wild-type (WT) littermate controls when housed under cool (14°C), usual (22°C) or ∼ thermoneutral (30°C) conditions. Our findings extend previous evidence that WT mice robustly defend normothermia in response to either a lowering (14°C) or an increase (30°C) of ambient temperature without changes in body weight or body composition. In contrast, leptin-deficient, ob/ob mice fail to defend normothermia at ambient temperatures lower than thermoneutrality and exhibit marked losses of both body fat and lean mass when exposed to cooler environments (14°C). Our findings further demonstrate a strong inverse relationship between ambient temperature and energy expenditure in WT mice, a relationship that is preserved in ob/ob mice. However, thermal conductance analysis indicates defective heat retention in ob/ob mice, irrespective of temperature. While a negative relationship between ambient temperature and energy intake also exists in WT mice, this relationship is disrupted in ob/ob mice. Thus, to meet the thermoregulatory demands of different ambient temperatures, leptin signaling is required for adaptive changes in both energy intake and thermal conductance. A better understanding of the mechanisms coupling thermoregulation to energy homeostasis may lead to the development of new approaches for the treatment of obesity.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Several lines of evidence implicate excess glucagon secretion in the elevated rates of hepatic glucose production (HGP), hyperglycemia and ketosis characteristic of uncontrolled insulin-deficient diabetes (uDM), but whether hyperglucagonemia is required for hyperglycemia in this setting is unknown. To address this question, adult male Wistar rats received either streptozotocin (STZ) to induce uDM (STZ-DM) or vehicle and remained non-diabetic. Four days later, animals received daily subcutaneous (sc) injections of either the synthetic GLP-1 receptor agonist liraglutide in a dose-escalating regime to reverse hyperglucagonemia, or its vehicle for 10 days. As expected, plasma glucagon levels were elevated in STZ-DM rats and, although liraglutide treatment lowered glucagon levels to those of non-diabetic controls, it failed to attenuate diabetic hyperglycemia, elevated rates of glucose appearance (Ra), or increased hepatic gluconeogenic gene expression. In contrast, it markedly reduced levels of both plasma ketone bodies and hepatic expression of the rate-limiting enzyme involved in ketone body production. To independently confirm this finding, in a separate study, treatment of STZ-DM rats with a glucagon-neutralizing antibody was sufficient to potently lower plasma ketone bodies, but failed to normalize elevated levels of either blood glucose or Ra. These data suggest that in rats with uDM, hyperglucagonemia is required for ketosis but not for increased hepatic glucose production or hyperglycemia. © 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Diabetes
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    ABSTRACT: Despite compelling evidence that oxytocin (OT) is effective in reducing body weight (BW) in diet-induced obese (DIO) rodents, studies of the effects of OT in humans and rhesus monkeys have primarily focused on non-ingestive behaviors. The goal of this study was to translate findings in DIO rodents to a pre-clinical translational model of DIO. We tested the hypothesis that increased OT signaling would reduce BW in DIO rhesus monkeys by inhibiting food intake and increasing energy expenditure (EE). Male DIO rhesus monkeys from the California National Primate Research Center were adapted to a 12-h fast and maintained on chow and a daily 15% fructose-sweetened beverage. Monkeys received 2x daily subcutaneous vehicle injections over 1 week. We subsequently identified doses of OT (0.2 and 0.4 mg/kg) that reduced food intake and BW in the absence of nausea or diarrhea. Chronic administration of OT for 4 weeks (0.2 mg/kg for 2 weeks; 0.4 mg/kg for 2 weeks) reduced BW relative to vehicle by 3.3±0.4% (≈0.6 kg; P<0.05). Moreover, the low dose of OT suppressed 12-h chow intake by 26±7% (P<0.05). The higher dose of OT reduced 12-h chow intake by 27±5% (P<0.05) and 8-h fructose-sweetened beverage intake by 18±8 % (P<0.05). OT increased EE during the dark cycle by 14±3% (P<0.05) and was associated with elevations of free fatty acids and glycerol and reductions in triglycerides suggesting increased lipolysis. Together, these data suggest that OT reduces BW in DIO rhesus monkeys through decreased food intake as well as increased EE and lipolysis. Copyright © 2014, American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
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    ABSTRACT: Although the antidiabetic effects of leptin require intact neuronal melanocortin signaling in rodents with uncontrolled diabetes (uDM), increased melanocortin signaling is not sufficient to mimic leptin's glucose-lowering effects. The current studies were undertaken to clarify the role of melanocortin signaling in leptin's ability to correct metabolic and neuroendocrine disturbances associated with uDM. To accomplish this, bilateral cannulae were implanted in the lateral ventricle of rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, and leptin was coinfused with varying doses of the melanocortin 3/4 receptor (MC3/4R) antagonist, SHU9119. An additional cohort of streptozotocin-induced diabetes rats received intracerebroventricular administration of either the MC3/4R agonist, melanotan-II, or its vehicle. Consistent with previous findings, leptin's glucose-lowering effects were blocked by intracerebroventricular SHU9119. In contrast, leptin-mediated suppression of hyperglucagonemia involves both melanocortin dependent and independent mechanisms, and the degree of glucagon inhibition was a associated with reduced plasma ketone body levels. Increased CNS melanocortin signaling alone fails to mimic leptin's ability to correct any of the metabolic or neuroendocrine disturbances associated with uDM. Moreover, the inability of increased melanocortin signaling to lower diabetic hyperglycemia does not appear to be secondary to release of the endogenous MC3/4R inverse agonist, Agouti-related peptide (AgRP), because AgRP knockout mice did not show increased susceptibility to the antidiabetic effects of increased MC3/4R signaling. Overall, these data suggest that 1) AgRP is not a major driver of diabetic hyperglycemia, 2) mechanisms independent of melanocortin signaling contribute to leptin's antidiabetic effects, and 3) melanocortin receptor blockade dissociates leptin's glucose-lowering effect from its action on other features of uDM, including reversal of hyperglucagonemia and ketosis, suggesting that brain control of ketosis, but not blood glucose levels, is glucagon dependent.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Metabolic diseases such as obesity and atherosclerosis result from complex interactions between environmental factors and genetic variants. A panel of chromosome substitution strains (CSSs) was developed to characterize genetic and dietary factors contributing to metabolic diseases and other biological traits and biomedical conditions. Our goal here was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) contributing to obesity, energy expenditure, and atherosclerosis. Parental strains C57BL/6 and A/J together with a panel of 21 CSSs derived from these progenitors were subjected to chronic feeding of rodent chow and atherosclerotic (females) or diabetogenic (males) test diets, and evaluated for a variety of metabolic phenotypes including several traits unique to this report, namely fat pad weights, energy balance, and atherosclerosis. A total of 297 QTLs across 35 traits were discovered, two of which provided significant protection from atherosclerosis, and several dozen QTLs modulated body weight, body composition, and circulating lipid levels in females and males. While several QTLs confirmed previous reports, most QTLs were novel. Finally, we applied the CSS quantitative genetic approach to energy balance, and identified three novel QTLs controlling energy expenditure and one QTL modulating food intake. Overall, we identified many new QTLs and phenotyped several novel traits in this mouse model of diet-induced metabolic diseases.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Mammalian Genome
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    ABSTRACT: Oxytocin (OT)-elicited hypophagia has been linked to neural activity in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). Because plasma OT levels increase following a meal, we hypothesized that circulating OT acts at both peripheral and hindbrain OT receptors (OTRs) to limit food intake. To initially determine whether circulating OT inhibits food intake by acting at hindbrain OTRs, we pre-treated rats with an OTR antagonist administered into the fourth ventricle (4V) followed by either central or systemic OT administration. Administration of the OTR antagonist into the 4V blocked anorexia induced by either 4V or intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of OT. However, blockade of peripheral OTRs also weakened the anorectic response to i.p. OT. Our data suggest a predominant role for hindbrain OTRs in the hypophagic response to peripheral OT administration. To elucidate central mechanisms of OT hypophagia, we tested whether OT activates NTS catecholaminergic neurons. OT (i.p.) increased the number of NTS cells expressing c-Fos, of which 10-15% were catecholaminergic. Further, electrophysiological studies in mice revealed that OT stimulated 47% (8/17) of NTS catecholamine neurons through a pre-synaptic mechanism. However, OT-elicited hypophagia did not appear to require activation of alpha1 (α1)-adrenoceptors, and blockade of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors similarly did not attenuate anorexia induced by OT. These findings demonstrate that 1) OT elicits satiety through both central and peripheral OTRs and 2) although catecholamine neurons are a downstream target of OT signaling in the NTS, the hypophagic effect is mediated independently of α1-adrenoceptor signaling.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Endocrinology
  • Gregory J Morton · Thomas H Meek · Michael W Schwartz
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    ABSTRACT: Under normal conditions, food intake and energy expenditure are balanced by a homeostatic system that maintains stability of body fat content over time. However, this homeostatic system can be overridden by the activation of 'emergency response circuits' that mediate feeding responses to emergent or stressful stimuli. Inhibition of these circuits is therefore permissive for normal energy homeostasis to occur, and their chronic activation can cause profound, even life-threatening, changes in body fat mass. This Review highlights how the interplay between homeostatic and emergency feeding circuits influences the biologically defended level of body weight under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Nature reviews Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Context.Fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) improves glycemic control in diabetic animals and is secreted from the gastrointestinal tract following meals in response to bile acid stimulation.Objective.We sought to understand how ingestion of carbohydrates, protein or lipids affect both FGF19 and bile acid concentrations in human plasma, with the hypothesis that variation in the bile acid response to different macronutrients would predict differences in plasma FGF19 levels.Design.This was a randomized, within-subjects crossover study.Setting.The study was conducted at a University Clinical Research Center.Participants.There were 16 healthy human subjects included in the study.Interventions.Isocaloric, isovolemic beverages composed primarily of carbohydrates, proteins, or lipids were provided to each participant on three separate occasions.Main Outcome Measures.The magnitudes of postprandial rises of plasma FGF19 and total bile acid levels were determined.Results.All beverages induced an initial transient decline of plasma FGF19 levels during the first 60 min following consumption. For FGF19, the ingestion of carbohydrate was associated with the fastest and highest increase of plasma levels, returning to baseline at 5h. By comparison, the protein beverage induced a modest but significant elevation of FGF19 levels that peaked at the end of the 6-h sampling interval, while a lipid beverage was without effect. In contrast, total bile acid levels increased in plasma only in response to a high lipid beverage, demonstrating a marked divergence between the FGF19 and bile acid response to lipid vs. carbohydrate.Conclusions.A bile acid-independent mechanism is implicated in the effect of meals to raise plasma FGF19 concentrations.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: Although a prominent role for the brain in glucose homeostasis was proposed by scientists in the nineteenth century, research throughout most of the twentieth century focused on evidence that the function of pancreatic islets is both necessary and sufficient to explain glucose homeostasis, and that diabetes results from defects of insulin secretion, action or both. However, insulin-independent mechanisms, referred to as 'glucose effectiveness', account for roughly 50% of overall glucose disposal, and reduced glucose effectiveness also contributes importantly to diabetes pathogenesis. Although mechanisms underlying glucose effectiveness are poorly understood, growing evidence suggests that the brain can dynamically regulate this process in ways that improve or even normalize glycaemia in rodent models of diabetes. Here we present evidence of a brain-centred glucoregulatory system (BCGS) that can lower blood glucose levels via both insulin-dependent and -independent mechanisms, and propose a model in which complex and highly coordinated interactions between the BCGS and pancreatic islets promote normal glucose homeostasis. Because activation of either regulatory system can compensate for failure of the other, defects in both may be required for diabetes to develop. Consequently, therapies that target the BCGS in addition to conventional approaches based on enhancing insulin effects may have the potential to induce diabetes remission, whereas targeting just one typically does not.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Nature
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    ABSTRACT: Leptin, a hormone secreted by adipocytes, plays a crucial role in regulating energy balance. Estrogen, like leptin, reduces food intake and adiposity while increasing energy expenditure in animals and humans of both sexes through its actions on the central nervous system. We reviewed the literature for studies of the effects of exogenously administered estrogen on serum leptin concentrations and adiposity in women. Using PubMed/Medline, we searched for studies of hormone therapy that enrolled healthy postmenopausal women. Studies were further evaluated to determine if leptin and adiposity were monitored both at baseline and throughout a treatment period of at least 2 months. Twenty articles met inclusion criteria. We found no consistent effects of exogenous estrogen on serum leptin concentrations, adiposity, or weight gain. Despite suggestive data from animal studies, the current literature does not provide compelling evidence that estrogen therapy attenuates weight gain, alters circulating leptin levels, or improves leptin action in postmenopausal women.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Menopause (New York, N.Y.)
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    ABSTRACT: Insulin-independent glucose disposal (referred to as glucose effectiveness [GE]) is crucial for glucose homeostasis and, until recently, was thought to be invariable. However, GE is reduced in type 2 diabetes and markedly decreased in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Strategies aimed at increasing GE should therefore be capable of improving glucose tolerance in these animals. The gut-derived hormone FGF19 has previously been shown to exert potent antidiabetic effects in ob/ob mice. In ob/ob mice, we found that systemic FGF19 administration improved glucose tolerance through its action in the brain and that a single, low-dose i.c.v. injection of FGF19 dramatically improved glucose intolerance within 2 hours. Minimal model analysis of glucose and insulin data obtained during a frequently sampled i.v. glucose tolerance test showed that the antidiabetic effect of i.c.v. FGF19 was solely due to increased GE and not to changes of either insulin secretion or insulin sensitivity. The mechanism underlying this effect appears to involve increased metabolism of glucose to lactate. Together, these findings implicate the brain in the antidiabetic action of systemic FGF19 and establish the brain's capacity to rapidly, potently, and selectively increase insulin-independent glucose disposal.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2013 · The Journal of clinical investigation
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    ABSTRACT: The β-defensins are a class of small, cationic proteins first recognized as antimicrobial components of the innate and adaptive immune system. More recently, one of the major β-defensins produced in skin, β-defensin 3, has been discovered to function as a melanocortin receptor ligand in vivo and in vitro, but its biophysical and pharmacological basis of action has been enigmatic. Here, we report functional and biochemical studies focused on human β-defensin 3 (HBD3) and melanocortin receptors 1 and 4. Genetic and pharmacologic studies indicate that HBD3 acts as a neutral melanocortin receptor antagonist capable of blocking the action of either stimulatory agonists such as α-melanocyte stimulating hormone or inhibitory inverse agonists such as Agouti signaling protein (ASIP) and Agouti-related protein (AGRP). A comprehensive structure-function analysis demonstrates that two patches of positively charged residues, located on opposite poles of HBD3 and spatially organized by the compact β-defensin fold, are primarily responsible for high-affinity binding to melanocortin receptors. These findings identify a distinct mode of melanocortin receptor-ligand interactions based primarily on electrostatic complementarity, with implications for designing ligands that target melanocortin and potentially other seven transmembrane receptors.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Chemistry & biology
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    ABSTRACT: In rodent models of type 1 diabetes, leptin administration into brain ventricles normalizes blood glucose at doses that have no effect when given peripherally. The ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMN) is a potential target for leptin's anti-diabetic effects since leptin-sensitive neurons in this brain area are implicated in glucose homeostasis. To test this hypothesis, we injected leptin directly into the bilateral VMN of rats with streptozotocin-induced uncontrolled diabetes mellitus (STZ-DM). This intervention completely normalized both hyperglycemia and the elevated rates of hepatic glucose production (HGP) and plasma glucagon levels, but had no effect on tissue glucose uptake in skeletal muscle or brown adipose tissue as measured using tracer dilution techniques during a basal clamp. To determine if VMN leptin signaling is required for leptin-mediated normalization of diabetic hyperglycemia, we studied mice in which the leptin receptor gene was deleted in VMN steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1) neurons using cre-loxP technology. Our findings indicate leptin action within these neurons is not required for correction of diabetic hyperglycemia by central leptin infusion. We conclude that leptin signaling in the VMN is sufficient to mediate leptin's anti-diabetic action, but may not be necessary for this effect. Leptin action within a distributed neuronal network may mediate its effects on glucose homeostasis.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: The mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH) plays a central role in the regulation of food intake and energy balance. Although the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate is implicated in energy balance regulation by the MBH, the hypothesis that feeding elicits local glutamate release remains untested. To test this hypothesis, we employed a glutamate biosensor that measures glutamate concentrations at 1-s intervals in conscious, freely behaving rats. Results indicate that feeding is associated with an increase of MBH glutamate concentration that occurs within 1-2 s of oral contact with a food pellet, and the glutamate response to a palatable high-fat pellet is greatly exaggerated relative to chow. In contrast, glutamate responses were not observed during water ingestion or other observed behaviors. These findings indicate that feeding is associated with rapid release of glutamate in the MBH, that this release is exaggerated with an obesogenic food, and that this response is likely stimulated by orosensory factors.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Molecular Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: Recent advances in human brown adipose tissue (BAT) imaging technology have renewed interest in the identification of BAT activators for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. In uncontrolled diabetes (uDM), activation of BAT is implicated in glucose lowering mediated by intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of leptin, which normalizes blood glucose levels in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. The potent effect of icv leptin to increase BAT glucose uptake in STZ-diabetes is accompanied by the return of reduced plasma thyroxine (T4) levels and BAT uncoupling protein-1 (Ucp1) mRNA levels to non-diabetic controls. We therefore sought to determine whether activation of thyroid hormone receptors is sufficient in and of itself to lower blood glucose levels in STZ-diabetes, and whether this effect involves activation of BAT. We found that although systemic administration of the thyroid hormone (TR)-β selective agonist GC-1 increases energy expenditure and induces further weight loss in STZ-diabetic rats, it neither increased BAT glucose uptake nor attenuated diabetic hyperglycemia. Even when GC-1 was administered in combination with a β3-AR agonist to mimic sympathetic nervous system activation, glucose uptake was not increased in STZ-diabetic rats nor was blood glucose lowered, yet this intervention potently activated BAT. Similar results were observed in animals treated with active thyroid hormone (T3) instead of GC-1. Taken together, our data suggest that neither returning normal plasma thyroid hormone levels nor BAT activation have any impact on diabetic hyperglycemia, and that in BAT, increases of Ucp1 gene expression and glucose uptake are readily dissociated from one another in this setting.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2013 · AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism