Direct innervation and modulation of orexin neurons by lateral hypothalamic LepRb neurons.
ABSTRACT: Leptin, the adipose-derived hormonal signal of body energy stores, acts via the leptin receptor (LepRb) on neurons in multiple brain regions. We previously identified LepRb neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA), which are distinct from neighboring leptin-regulated melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)- or orexin (OX)-expressing cells. Neither the direct synaptic targets of LHA LepRb neurons nor their potential role in the regulation of other LHA neurons has been determined, however. We thus generated several adenoviral and transgenic systems in which cre recombinase promotes the expression of the tracer, WGA (wheat germ agglutinin), and used these in combination with LepRb(cre) mice to determine the neuronal targets of LHA LepRb neurons. This analysis revealed that, although some LHA LepRb neurons project to dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area, LHA LepRb neurons also densely innervate the LHA where they directly synapse with OX, but not MCH, neurons. Indeed, few other LepRb neurons in the brain project to the OX-containing region of the mouse LHA, and direct leptin action via LHA LepRb neurons regulates gene expression in OX neurons. These findings thus reveal a major role for LHA leptin action in the modulation of OX neurons, suggesting the importance of LHA LepRb neurons in the regulation of OX signaling that is crucial to leptin action and metabolic control.
Project description:Leptin acts on leptin receptor (LepRb)-expressing neurons throughout the brain, but the roles for many populations of LepRb neurons in modulating energy balance and behavior remain unclear. We found that the majority of LepRb neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) contain neurotensin (Nts). To investigate the physiologic role for leptin action via these LepRb(Nts) neurons, we generated mice null for LepRb specifically in Nts neurons (Nts-LepRbKO mice). Nts-LepRbKO mice demonstrate early-onset obesity, modestly increased feeding, and decreased locomotor activity. Furthermore, consistent with the connection of LepRb(Nts) neurons with local orexin (OX) neurons and the ventral tegmental area (VTA), Nts-LepRbKO mice exhibit altered regulation of OX neurons and the mesolimbic DA system. Thus, LHA LepRb(Nts) neurons mediate physiologic leptin action on OX neurons and the mesolimbic DA system, and contribute importantly to the control of energy balance.
Project description:The GH/IGF-1 axis has important roles in growth and metabolism. GH and GH receptor (GHR) are active in the central nervous system (CNS) and are crucial in regulating several aspects of metabolism. In the hypothalamus, there is a high abundance of GH-responsive cells, but the role of GH signaling in hypothalamic neurons is unknown. Previous work has demonstrated that the Ghr gene is highly expressed in LepRb neurons. Given that leptin is a key regulator of energy balance by acting on leptin receptor (LepRb)-expressing neurons, we tested the hypothesis that LepRb neurons represent an important site for GHR signaling to control body homeostasis.To determine the importance of GHR signaling in LepRb neurons, we utilized Cre/loxP technology to ablate GHR expression in LepRb neurons (LeprEYFP?GHR). The mice were generated by crossing the Leprcre on the cre-inducible ROSA26-EYFP mice to GHRL/L mice. Parameters of body composition and glucose homeostasis were evaluated.Our results demonstrate that the sites with GHR and LepRb co-expression include ARH, DMH, and LHA neurons. Leptin action was not altered in LeprEYFP?GHR mice; however, GH-induced pStat5-IR in LepRb neurons was significantly reduced in these mice. Serum IGF-1 and GH levels were unaltered, and we found no evidence that GHR signaling regulates food intake and body weight in LepRb neurons. In contrast, diminished GHR signaling in LepRb neurons impaired hepatic insulin sensitivity and peripheral lipid metabolism. This was paralleled with a failure to suppress expression of the gluconeogenic genes and impaired hepatic insulin signaling in LeprEYFP?GHR mice.These findings suggest the existence of GHR-leptin neurocircuitry that plays an important role in the GHR-mediated regulation of glucose metabolism irrespective of feeding.
Project description:The lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) acts in concert with the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and other components of the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system to control motivation, including the incentive to feed. The anorexigenic hormone leptin modulates the mesolimbic DA system, although the mechanisms underlying this control have remained incompletely understood. We show that leptin directly regulates a population of leptin receptor (LepRb)-expressing inhibitory neurons in the LHA and that leptin action via these LHA LepRb neurons decreases feeding and body weight. Furthermore, these LHA LepRb neurons innervate the VTA, and leptin action on these neurons restores VTA expression of the rate-limiting enzyme in DA production along with mesolimbic DA content in leptin-deficient animals. Thus, these findings reveal that LHA LepRb neurons link anorexic leptin action to the mesolimbic DA system.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Leptin modulates food reward via central leptin receptor (LepRb) expressing neurons. Food reward requires stimulation of midbrain dopamine neurons and is modulated by central leptin action, but the exact central mechanisms remain unclear. Stimulatory and inhibitory leptin actions on dopamine neurons have been reported, e.g. by indirect actions on orexin neurons or via direct innervation of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area. METHODS:We showed earlier that LepRb neurons in the lateral hypothalamus (LHA) co-express the inhibitory acting neuropeptide galanin (GAL-LepRb neurons). We studied the involvement of GAL-LepRb neurons to regulate nutrient reward in mice with selective LepRb deletion from galanin neurons (GAL-LepRb(KO) mice). RESULTS:We found that the rewarding value and preference for sucrose over fat was increased in GAL-LepRb(KO) mice compared to controls. LHA GAL-LepRb neurons innervate orexin neurons, but not the VTA. Further, expression of galanin and its receptor GalR1 are decreased in the LHA of GAL-LepRb(KO) mice, resulting in increased activation of orexin neurons. CONCLUSION:We suggest galanin as an important mediator of leptin action to modulate nutrient reward by inhibiting orexin neurons.
Project description:Leptin acts via its receptor (LepRb) on multiple subpopulations of LepRb neurons in the brain, each of which controls specific aspects of energy balance. Despite the importance of LepRb-containing neurons, the transcriptome and molecular identity of many LepRb subpopulations remain undefined due to the difficulty of studying the small fraction of total cells represented by LepRb neurons in heterogeneous brain regions. Here we sought to examine the transcriptome of LepRb neurons directly and identify markers for functionally relevant LepRb subsets.We isolated mRNA from mouse hypothalamic and brainstem LepRb cells by Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification (TRAP) and analyzed it by RNA-seq (TRAP-seq).TRAP mRNA from LepRb cells was enriched for markers of peptidergic neurons, while TRAP-depleted mRNA from non-LepRb cells was enriched for markers of glial and immune cells. Genes encoding secreted proteins that were enriched in hypothalamic and brainstem TRAP mRNA revealed subpopulations of LepRb neurons that contained neuropeptide-encoding genes (including prodynorphin, Pdyn) not previously used as functional markers for LepRb neurons. Furthermore, Pdyn (cre) -mediated ablation of Lepr (flox) in Pdyn-expressing neurons (LepRb (Pdyn) KO mice) blunted energy expenditure to promote obesity during high-fat feeding.TRAP-seq of CNS LepRb neurons defines the LepRb neuron transcriptome and reveals novel markers for previously unrecognized subpopulations of LepRb neurons.
Project description:Neurons of the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) control motivated behaviors such as feeding and ambulatory activity, in part by modulating mesolimbic dopamine (DA) circuits. The hormone, leptin, acts via the long form of the leptin receptor (LepRb) in the brain to signal the repletion of body energy stores, thereby decreasing feeding and promoting activity. LHA LepRb neurons, most of which contain neurotensin (Nts; LepRb(Nts) neurons) link leptin action to the control of mesolimbic DA function and energy balance. To understand potential roles for Nts in these processes, we examined mice null for Nts receptor 1 (NtsR1KO). While NtsR1KO mice consume less food than controls on a chow diet, they eat more and become obese when fed a high-fat, high-sucrose palatable diet; NtsR1KO mice also exhibit augmented sucrose preference, consistent with increased hedonic feeding in these animals. We thus sought to understand potential roles for NtsR1 in the control of the mesolimbic DA system and LHA leptin action. LHA Nts cells project to DA-containing midbrain areas, including the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the substantia nigra (SN), where many DA neurons express NtsR1. Furthermore, in contrast to wild-type mice, intra-LHA leptin treatment increased feeding and decreased VTA Th expression in NtsR1KO mice, consistent with a role for NtsR1 signaling from LHA LepRb neurons in the suppression of food intake and control of mesolimbic DA function. Additionally, these data suggest that other leptin-regulated LHA neurotransmitters normally oppose aspects of Nts action to promote balanced responses to leptin.
Project description:Few effective measures exist to combat the worldwide obesity epidemic(1), and the identification of potential therapeutic targets requires a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that control energy balance. Leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone that signals the long-term status of bodily energy stores, acts through multiple types of leptin receptor long isoform (LepRb)-expressing neurons (called here LepRb neurons) in the brain to control feeding, energy expenditure and endocrine function(2-4). The modest contributions to energy balance that are attributable to leptin action in many LepRb populations(5-9) suggest that other previously unidentified hypothalamic LepRb neurons have key roles in energy balance. Here we examine the role of LepRb in neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS1)-expressing LebRb (LepRb(NOS1)) neurons that comprise approximately 20% of the total hypothalamic LepRb neurons. Nos1(cre)-mediated genetic ablation of LepRb (Lepr(Nos1KO)) in mice produces hyperphagic obesity, decreased energy expenditure and hyperglycemia approaching that seen in whole-body LepRb-null mice. In contrast, the endocrine functions in Lepr(Nos1KO) mice are only modestly affected by the genetic ablation of LepRb in these neurons. Thus, hypothalamic LepRb(NOS1) neurons are a key site of action of the leptin-mediated control of systemic energy balance.
Project description:Serotonin (5-HT) and leptin play important roles in the modulation of energy balance. Here we investigated mechanisms by which leptin might interact with CNS 5-HT pathways to influence appetite. Although some leptin receptor (LepRb) neurons lie close to 5-HT neurons in the dorsal raphe (DR), 5-HT neurons do not express LepRb. Indeed, while leptin hyperpolarizes some non-5-HT DR neurons, leptin does not alter the activity of DR 5-HT neurons. Furthermore, 5-HT depletion does not impair the anorectic effects of leptin. The serotonin transporter-cre allele (Sert(cre)) is expressed in 5-HT (and developmentally in some non-5-HT) neurons. While Sert(cre) promotes LepRb excision in a few LepRb neurons in the hypothalamus, it is not active in DR LepRb neurons, and neuron-specific Sert(cre)-mediated LepRb inactivation in mice does not alter body weight or adiposity. Thus, leptin does not directly influence 5-HT neurons and does not meaningfully modulate important appetite-related determinants via 5-HT neuron function.
Project description:The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin acts via its receptor (LepRb) on central nervous system neurons to communicate the repletion of long-term energy stores, to decrease food intake, and to promote energy expenditure. We generated mice that express Cre recombinase from the calcitonin receptor (Calcr) locus (Calcrcre mice) to study Calcr-expressing LepRb (LepRbCalcr) neurons, which reside predominantly in the arcuate nucleus (ARC). Calcrcre-mediated ablation of LepRb in LepRbCalcrknockout (KO) mice caused hyperphagic obesity. Because LepRb-mediated transcriptional control plays a crucial role in leptin action, we used translating ribosome affinity purification followed by RNA sequencing to define the transcriptome of hypothalamic Calcr neurons, along with its alteration in LepRbCalcrKO mice. We found that ARC LepRbCalcr cells include neuropeptide Y (NPY)/agouti-related peptide (AgRP)/?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) ("NAG") cells as well as non-NAG cells that are distinct from pro-opiomelanocortin cells. Furthermore, although LepRbCalcrKO mice exhibited dysregulated expression of several genes involved in energy balance, neither the expression of Agrp and Npy nor the activity of NAG cells was altered in vivo. Thus, although direct leptin action via LepRbCalcr cells plays an important role in leptin action, our data also suggest that leptin indirectly, as well as directly, regulates these cells.
Project description:Leptin acts via its receptor (LepRb) on specific CNS neurons to signal the adequacy of long-term energy stores, thereby permitting the expenditure of resources on energy-intensive processes such as reproduction. The ventral premammillary nucleus of the hypothalamus (PMv), which has been implicated in the stimulation of gonadotropin release by olfactory cues, contains numerous LepRb neurons, suggesting a potential role for LepRb PMv neurons in transmitting both metabolic and odorant signals to the neuroendocrine reproductive system. Indeed, Fos immunoreactivity and electrophysiologic recordings revealed the direct activation of LepRb PMv neurons by leptin, and exposure to odors from mice of the opposite sex promoted Fos immunoreactivity (Fos-IR) in many LepRb PMv neurons. To determine the regions innervated by the LepRb PMv neurons, we used two novel cre-activated tract-tracing systems in Lepr(cre) animals; data from these systems and from standard tracing techniques revealed that LepRb PMv neurons project to a subset of the regions, including the preoptic area, that are innervated by the PMv as a whole. Furthermore, the retrograde accumulation in LepRb PMv neurons of a trans-synaptic tracer from GnRH neurons revealed the direct innervation of GnRH neurons by many LepRb PMv neurons. Thus, LepRb PMv neurons sense metabolic and sexual odorant cues and project to the rostral hypothalamus to directly innervate GnRH neurons. These results are consistent with a role for LepRb PMv neurons in regulating the reproductive axis in response to metabolic and odorant stimuli.