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BACKGROUND - Exposure of rodents to chronic high-fat diet (HFD) results in upregulation of inflammatory markers and proliferation of microglia within the mediobasal hypothalamus. Such hypothalamic inflammation is associated with metabolic dysfunction, central leptin resistance, and maintenance of obesity. Bariatric surgeries result in long-term stable weight loss and improved metabolic function. However, the effects of such surgical procedures on HFD-induced hypothalamic inflammation are unknown. We sought to characterize the effects of two bariatric surgical procedures, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and biliary diversion (BD-IL), in female mice with particular emphasis on HFD-induced hypothalamic inflammation and microgliosis.
METHODS - RYGB and BD-IL were performed on diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. Quantitative RT-PCR and fluorescent microscopy were used to evaluate hypothalamic inflammatory gene expression and microgliosis. Results were compared to lean (CD), DIO sham-surgerized mice (DIO-SHAM), and dietary weight loss (DIO-Rev) controls.
RESULTS - In female mice, RYGB and BD-IL result in normalization of hypothalamic inflammatory gene expression and microgliosis within 8 weeks of surgery, despite ongoing exposure to HFD. Paralleling these results, the hypothalamic expression levels of the orexigenic neuropeptide Agrp and the anorexic response of surgical mice to exogenous leptin were comparable to lean controls (CD). In contrast, results from DIO-Rev mice were comparable to DIO-SHAM mice, despite transition back to standard rodent show and normalization of weight.
CONCLUSION - Bariatric surgery attenuates HFD-induced hypothalamic inflammation and microgliosis and restores leptin sensitivity, despite ongoing exposure to HFD.
In the developing hypothalamus, the fat-derived hormone leptin stimulates the growth of axons from the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARH) to other regions that control energy balance. These projections are significantly reduced in leptin deficient (Lep ) mice and this phenotype is largely rescued by neonatal leptin treatments. However, treatment of mature Lep mice is ineffective, suggesting that the trophic action of leptin is limited to a developmental critical period. To temporally delineate closure of this critical period for leptin-stimulated growth, we treated Lep mice with exogenous leptin during a variety of discrete time periods, and measured the density of Agouti-Related Peptide (AgRP) containing projections from the ARH to the ventral part of the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (DMHv), and to the medial parvocellular part of the paraventricular nucleus (PVHmp). The results indicate that leptin loses its neurotrophic potential at or near postnatal day 28. The duration of leptin exposure appears to be important, with 9- or 11-day treatments found to be more effective than shorter (5-day) treatments. Furthermore, leptin treatment for 9 days or more was sufficient to restore AgRP innervation to both the PVHmp and DMHv in Lep females, but only to the DMHv in Lep males. Together, these findings reveal that the trophic actions of leptin are contingent upon timing and duration of leptin exposure, display both target and sex specificity, and that modulation of leptin-dependent circuit formation by each of these factors may carry enduring consequences for feeding behavior, metabolism, and obesity risk.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
While innate behaviors are conserved throughout the animal kingdom, it is unknown whether common signaling pathways regulate the development of neuronal populations mediating these behaviors in diverse organisms. Here, we demonstrate that the Wnt/ß-catenin effector Lef1 is required for the differentiation of anxiolytic hypothalamic neurons in zebrafish and mice, although the identity of Lef1-dependent genes and neurons differ between these 2 species. We further show that zebrafish and Drosophila have common Lef1-dependent gene expression in their respective neuroendocrine organs, consistent with a conserved pathway that has diverged in the mouse. Finally, orthologs of Lef1-dependent genes from both zebrafish and mouse show highly correlated hypothalamic expression in marmosets and humans, suggesting co-regulation of 2 parallel anxiolytic pathways in primates. These findings demonstrate that during evolution, a transcription factor can act through multiple mechanisms to generate a common behavioral output, and that Lef1 regulates circuit development that is fundamentally important for mediating anxiety in a wide variety of animal species.
Pharmacological activation of the hypothalamic glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor (GLP-1R) promotes weight loss and improves glucose tolerance. This demonstrates that the hypothalamic GLP-1R is sufficient but does not show whether it is necessary for the effects of exogenous GLP-1R agonists (GLP-1RA) or endogenous GLP-1 on these parameters. To address this, we crossed mice harboring floxed Glp1r alleles to mice expressing Nkx2.1-Cre to knock down Glp1r expression throughout the hypothalamus (GLP-1RKD). We also generated mice lacking Glp1r expression specifically in two GLP-1RA-responsive hypothalamic feeding nuclei/cell types, the paraventricular nucleus (GLP-1RKD) and proopiomelanocortin neurons (GLP-1RKD). Chow-fed GLP-1RKD mice exhibited increased food intake and energy expenditure with no net effect on body weight. When fed a high-fat diet, these mice exhibited normal food intake but elevated energy expenditure, yielding reduced weight gain. None of these phenotypes were observed in GLP-1RKD and GLP-1RKD mice. The acute anorectic and glucose tolerance effects of peripherally dosed GLP-1RA exendin-4 and liraglutide were preserved in all mouse lines. Chronic liraglutide treatment reduced body weight in chow-fed GLP-1RKD mice, but this effect was attenuated with high-fat diet feeding. In sum, classic homeostatic control regions are sufficient but not individually necessary for the effects of GLP-1RA on nutrient homeostasis.
© 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is among the most common and costly disorders worldwide. The goal of current medical management for T2D is to transiently ameliorate hyperglycemia through daily dosing of one or more antidiabetic drugs. Hypoglycemia and weight gain are common side effects of therapy, and sustained disease remission is not obtainable with nonsurgical approaches. On the basis of the potent glucose-lowering response elicited by activation of brain fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors, we explored the antidiabetic efficacy of centrally administered FGF1, which, unlike other FGF peptides, activates all FGF receptor subtypes. We report that a single intracerebroventricular injection of FGF1 at a dose one-tenth of that needed for antidiabetic efficacy following peripheral injection induces sustained diabetes remission in both mouse and rat models of T2D. This antidiabetic effect is not secondary to weight loss, does not increase the risk of hypoglycemia, and involves a novel and incompletely understood mechanism for increasing glucose clearance from the bloodstream. We conclude that the brain has an inherent potential to induce diabetes remission and that brain FGF receptors are potential pharmacological targets for achieving this goal.
Menopause timing has a substantial impact on infertility and risk of disease, including breast cancer, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We report a dual strategy in ∼70,000 women to identify common and low-frequency protein-coding variation associated with age at natural menopause (ANM). We identified 44 regions with common variants, including two regions harboring additional rare missense alleles of large effect. We found enrichment of signals in or near genes involved in delayed puberty, highlighting the first molecular links between the onset and end of reproductive lifespan. Pathway analyses identified major association with DNA damage response (DDR) genes, including the first common coding variant in BRCA1 associated with any complex trait. Mendelian randomization analyses supported a causal effect of later ANM on breast cancer risk (∼6% increase in risk per year; P = 3 × 10(-14)), likely mediated by prolonged sex hormone exposure rather than DDR mechanisms.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have reproducibly associated variants within introns of FTO with increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Although the molecular mechanisms linking these noncoding variants with obesity are not immediately obvious, subsequent studies in mice demonstrated that FTO expression levels influence body mass and composition phenotypes. However, no direct connection between the obesity-associated variants and FTO expression or function has been made. Here we show that the obesity-associated noncoding sequences within FTO are functionally connected, at megabase distances, with the homeobox gene IRX3. The obesity-associated FTO region directly interacts with the promoters of IRX3 as well as FTO in the human, mouse and zebrafish genomes. Furthermore, long-range enhancers within this region recapitulate aspects of IRX3 expression, suggesting that the obesity-associated interval belongs to the regulatory landscape of IRX3. Consistent with this, obesity-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms are associated with expression of IRX3, but not FTO, in human brains. A direct link between IRX3 expression and regulation of body mass and composition is demonstrated by a reduction in body weight of 25 to 30% in Irx3-deficient mice, primarily through the loss of fat mass and increase in basal metabolic rate with browning of white adipose tissue. Finally, hypothalamic expression of a dominant-negative form of Irx3 reproduces the metabolic phenotypes of Irx3-deficient mice. Our data suggest that IRX3 is a functional long-range target of obesity-associated variants within FTO and represents a novel determinant of body mass and composition.
BACKGROUND - In rodents, hypothalamic brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression appears to be regulated by melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) activity. The impact of MC4R genetic variation on circulating BDNF in humans is unknown.
OBJECTIVE - The objective of this study is to compare BDNF concentrations of subjects with loss-of-function (LOF) and gain-of-function (GOF) MC4R variants with those of controls with common sequence MC4R.
METHODS - Circulating BDNF was measured in two cohorts with known MC4R sequence: 148 subjects of Pima Indian heritage ((mean±s.d.): age, 15.7±6.5 years; body mass index z-scores (BMI-Z), 1.63±1.03) and 69 subjects of Hispanic heritage (10.8±3.6 years; BMI-Z, 1.57±1.07). MC4R variants were characterized in vitro by cell surface expression, receptor binding and cyclic AMP response after agonist administration. BDNF single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs12291186, rs6265 and rs7124442 were also genotyped.
RESULTS - In the Pima cohort, no significant differences in serum BDNF was observed for 43 LOF subjects versus 65 LOF-matched controls (age, sex and BMI matched; P=0.29) or 20 GOF subjects versus 20 GOF-matched controls (P=0.40). Serum BDNF was significantly associated with genotype for BDNF rs12291186 (P=0.006) and rs6265 (P=0.009), but not rs7124442 (P=0.99); BDNF SNPs did not interact with MC4R status to predict serum BDNF. In the Hispanic cohort, plasma BDNF was not significantly different among 21 LOF subjects, 20 GOF subjects and 28 controls (P=0.79); plasma BDNF was not predicted by BDNF genotype or BDNF-x-MC4R genotype interaction.
CONCLUSIONS - Circulating BDNF concentrations were not significantly associated with MC4R functional status, suggesting that peripheral BDNF does not directly reflect hypothalamic BDNF secretion and/or that MC4R signaling is not a significant regulator of the bulk of BDNF expression in humans.