Leptin action on GABAergic neurons prevents obesity and reduces inhibitory tone to POMC neurons.
ABSTRACT: Leptin acts in the brain to prevent obesity. The underlying neurocircuitry responsible for this is poorly understood, in part because of incomplete knowledge regarding first-order, leptin-responsive neurons. To address this, we and others have been removing leptin receptors from candidate first-order neurons. While functionally relevant neurons have been identified, the observed effects have been small, suggesting that most first-order neurons remain unidentified. Here we take an alternative approach and test whether first-order neurons are inhibitory (GABAergic, VGAT?) or excitatory (glutamatergic, VGLUT2?). Remarkably, the vast majority of leptin's antiobesity effects are mediated by GABAergic neurons; glutamatergic neurons play only a minor role. Leptin, working directly on presynaptic GABAergic neurons, many of which appear not to express AgRP, reduces inhibitory tone to postsynaptic POMC neurons. As POMC neurons prevent obesity, their disinhibition by leptin action on presynaptic GABAergic neurons probably mediates, at least in part, leptin's antiobesity effects.
Project description:Regulation of GABAergic inhibitory inputs and alterations in POMC neuron activity by nutrients and adiposity signals regulate energy and glucose homeostasis. Thus, understanding how POMC neurons integrate these two signal molecules at the synaptic level is important. Here we show that leptin's action on GABA release to POMC neurons is influenced by glucose levels. Leptin stimulates the JAK2-PI3K pathway in both presynaptic GABAergic terminals and postsynaptic POMC neurons. Inhibition of AMPK activity in presynaptic terminals decreases GABA release at 10 mM glucose. However, postsynaptic TRPC channel opening by the PI3K-PLC signalling pathway in POMC neurons enhances spontaneous GABA release via activation of presynaptic MC3/4 and mGlu receptors at 2.5 mM glucose. High-fat feeding blunts AMPK-dependent presynaptic inhibition, whereas PLC-mediated GABAergic feedback inhibition remains responsive to leptin. Our data indicate that the interplay between glucose and leptin signalling in glutamatergic POMC neurons is critical for determining the strength of inhibitory tone towards POMC neurons.
Project description:Leptin is critical for energy balance, glucose homeostasis, and for metabolic and neuroendocrine adaptations to starvation. A prevalent model predicts that leptin's actions are mediated through pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons that express leptin receptors (LEPRs). However, previous studies have used prenatal genetic manipulations, which may be subject to developmental compensation. Here, we tested the direct contribution of POMC neurons expressing LEPRs in regulating energy balance, glucose homeostasis and leptin secretion during fasting using a spatiotemporally controlled Lepr expression mouse model. We report a dissociation between leptin's effects on glucose homeostasis versus energy balance in POMC neurons. We show that these neurons are dispensable for regulating food intake, but are required for coordinating hepatic glucose production and for the fasting-induced fall in leptin levels, independent of changes in fat mass. We also identify a role for sympathetic nervous system regulation of the inhibitory adrenergic receptor (ADRA2A) in regulating leptin production. Collectively, our findings highlight a previously unrecognized role of POMC neurons in regulating leptin levels.
Project description:Normal food intake and body weight homeostasis require the direct action of leptin on hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons. It has been proposed that leptin action requires PI3K activity. We therefore assessed the contribution of PI3K signaling to leptin's effects on POMC neurons and organismal energy balance. Leptin caused a rapid depolarization of POMC neurons and an increase in action potential frequency in patch-clamp recordings of hypothalamic slices. Pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K prevented this depolarization and increased POMC firing rate, indicating a PI3K-dependent mechanism of leptin action. Mice with genetically disrupted PI3K signaling in POMC cells failed to undergo POMC depolarization or increased firing frequency in response to leptin. Insulin's ability to hyperpolarize POMC neurons was also abolished in these mice. Moreover, targeted disruption of PI3K blunted the suppression of feeding elicited by central leptin administration. Despite these differences, mice with impaired PI3K signaling in POMC neurons exhibited normal long-term body weight regulation. Collectively, these results suggest that PI3K signaling in POMC neurons is essential for leptin-induced activation and insulin-induced inhibition of POMC cells and for the acute suppression of food intake elicited by leptin, but is not a major contributor to the regulation of long-term organismal energy homeostasis.
Project description:Hypothalamic POMC deficiency leads to obesity and metabolic deficiencies, largely due to the loss of melanocortin peptides. However, POMC neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) are comprised of glutamatergic and GABAergic subpopulations. The developmental program, relative proportion and function of these two subpopulations are unresolved. To test whether glutamatergic POMC neurons serve a distinct role in maintaining energy homeostasis, we activated Pomc expression Cre- dependently in Vglut2-expressing neurons of mice with conditionally silenced Pomc alleles. The Vglut2-Pomc restored mice had normal ARC Pomc mRNA levels, POMC immunoreactivity, as well as body weight and body composition at age 12 weeks. Unexpectedly, the cumulative total of Vglut2+ glutamatergic- and Gad67+ GABAergic-Pomc neurons detected by in situ hybridization (ISH) exceeded 100% in both Vglut2- Pomc restored and control mice, indicating that a subpopulation of Pomc neurons must express both neuronal markers. Consistent with this hypothesis, triple ISH of C57BL/6J hypothalami revealed that 35% of ARC Pomc neurons were selectively Gad67 +, 21% were selectively Vglut2 +, and 38% expressed both Gad67 and Vglut2. The single Gad67 + and Vglut2 + Pomc neurons were most prevalent in the rostral ARC, while the Vglut2/Gad67 + dual-phenotype cells predominated in the caudal ARC. A lineage trace using Ai9-tdTomato reporter mice to label fluorescently all Vglut2-expressing neurons showed equal numbers of tdTomato+ and tdTomato- POMC immunoreactive neurons. Together, these data suggest that POMC neurons exhibit developmental plasticity in their expression of glutamatergic and GABAergic markers, enabling re-establishment of normal energy homeostasis in the Vglut2-Pomc restored mice.
Project description:Leptin regulates energy homeostasis and reproduction. One key population of leptin receptors (Lepr) are found on proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, and evidence links the action of gonadal estrogens to these same POMC neurons. To determine whether Lepr on POMC neurons are critical for reproductive capacity or for sex-specific energy and glucose homeostasis, we studied Cre/loxP mice lacking Lepr specifically on POMC neurons (Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) mice) and their controls with normal Lepr (Lepr(flox/flox) mice). Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) mice maintained normal reproductive capacity and accumulated more body fat than their same sex controls. Ovariectomy (OVX) was performed to investigate the effects of the estrogens and Lepr on POMC neurons on body fat accumulation and glucose tolerance. OVX Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) females accumulated more fat than OVX Lepr(flox/flox) females did. Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) males were glucose intolerant and insulin insensitive compared with control males. In contrast, control and Pomc-Cre, Lepr(flox/flox) females had similar glucose tolerance before and after OVX. Therefore leptin's action on POMC neurons reduces body fat accumulation, but is not critical for regulation of reproduction. The sex difference in leptin signaling on POMC neurons on glucose tolerance appears independent of ovarian hormones.
Project description:Leptin has beneficial effects on glucose metabolism via actions in the hypothalamus, but the roles of specific subgroups of neurons responsible for these antidiabetic effects remain unresolved. We generated diabetic Lep(ob/ob) or Lepr(db/db) mice lacking or re-expressing leptin receptors (LepRb) in subgroups of neurons to explore their contributions to leptin's glucose-lowering actions. We show that agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expressing neurons are both required and sufficient to correct hyperglycemia by leptin. LepRb in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons or steroidogenic factor-1 (SF1) neurons are not required. Furthermore, normalization of blood glucose by leptin is blunted in Lep(ob/ob)/MC4R-null mice, but not in Lep(ob/ob) mice lacking neuropeptide Y (NPY) or gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in AgRP neurons. Leptin's ability to improve glucose balance is accompanied by a reduction in circulating glucagon. We conclude that AgRP neurons play a crucial role in glucose-lowering actions by leptin and that this requires the melanocortin system, but not NPY and GABA.
Project description:Leptin acts via neuronal leptin receptors to control energy balance. Hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP)/Neuropeptide Y (NPY)/GABA neurons produce anorexigenic and orexigenic neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, and express the long signaling form of the leptin receptor (LepRb). Despite progress in the understanding of LepRb signaling and function, the sub-cellular localization of LepRb in target neurons has not been determined, primarily due to lack of sensitive anti-LepRb antibodies. Here we applied light microscopy (LM), confocal-laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and electron microscopy (EM) to investigate LepRb localization and signaling in mice expressing a HA-tagged LepRb selectively in POMC or AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons. We report that LepRb receptors exhibit a somato-dendritic expression pattern. We further show that LepRb activates STAT3 phosphorylation in neuronal fibers within several hypothalamic and hindbrain nuclei of wild-type mice and rats, and specifically in dendrites of arcuate POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons of Leprb (+/+) mice and in Leprb (db/db) mice expressing HA-LepRb in a neuron specific manner. We did not find evidence of LepRb localization or STAT3-signaling in axon-fibers or nerve-terminals of POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons. Three-dimensional serial EM-reconstruction of dendritic segments from POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons indicates a high density of shaft synapses. In addition, we found that the leptin activates STAT3 signaling in proximity to synapses on POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA dendritic shafts. Taken together, these data suggest that the signaling-form of the leptin receptor exhibits a somato-dendritic expression pattern in POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons. Dendritic LepRb signaling may therefore play an important role in leptin's central effects on energy balance, possibly through modulation of synaptic activity via post-synaptic mechanisms.
Project description:Feeding on high-calorie (HC) diets induces serious metabolic imbalances, including obesity. Understanding the mechanisms against excessive body weight gain is critical for developing effective antiobesity strategies. Here we show that lack of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+))-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons causes hypersensitivity to diet-induced obesity due to reduced energy expenditure. The ability of leptin to properly engage the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling in POMC neurons and elicit remodeling of perigonadal white adipose tissue (WAT) is severely compromised in mutant mice. Also, electrophysiological and histomorphomolecular analyses indicate a selective reduction in sympathetic nerve activity and brown-fat-like characteristics in perigonadal WAT of mutant mice, suggesting a physiologically important role for POMC neurons in controlling this visceral fat depot. In summary, our results provide direct genetic evidence that SIRT1 in POMC neurons is required for normal autonomic adaptations against diet-induced obesity.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:The long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist, liraglutide, stimulates insulin secretion and efficiently suppresses food intake to reduce body weight. As such, liraglutide is growing in popularity in the treatment of diabetes and chronic weight management. Within the brain, liraglutide has been shown to alter the activity of hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and Neuropeptide Y/Agouti-related peptide (NPY/AgRP) neurons. Moreover, the acute activities of POMC and NPY neurons have been directly linked to feeding behavior, body weight, and glucose metabolism. Despite the increased usage of liraglutide and other GLP-1 analogues as diabetic and obesity interventions, the cellular mechanisms by which liraglutide alters the activity of metabolically relevant neuronal populations are poorly understood. METHODS:In order to resolve this issue, we utilized neuron-specific transgenic mouse models to identify POMC and NPY neurons for patch-clamp electrophysiology experiments. RESULTS:We found that liraglutide directly activated arcuate POMC neurons via TrpC5 channels, sharing a similar mechanistic pathway to the adipose-derived peptide leptin. Liraglutide also indirectly increases excitatory tone to POMC neurons. In contrast, liraglutide inhibited NPY/AgRP neurons through post-synaptic GABAA receptors and enhanced activity of pre-synaptic GABAergic neurons, which required both TrpC5 subunits and K-ATP channels. In support of an additive role of leptin and liraglutide in suppressing food intake, leptin potentiated the acute effects of liraglutide to activate POMC neurons. TrpC5 subunits in POMC neurons were also required for the intact pharmacological effects of liraglutide on food intake and body weight. Thus, the current study adds to recent work from our group and others, which highlight potential mechanisms to amplify the effects of GLP-1 agonists in vivo. Moreover, these data highlight multiple sites of action (both pre- and post-synaptic) for GLP-1 agonists on this circuit. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, our results identify critical molecular mechanisms linking GLP-1 analogues in arcuate POMC and NPY/AgRP neurons with metabolism.
Project description:Leptin regulates both feeding and glycaemia primarily through its receptors expressed on agouti-related peptide (AgRP) and pro-opiomelanocortin-expressing (POMC) neurons; however, it is unknown whether activity of these neuronal populations mediates the regulation of these processes. To determine this, we injected Cre-dependent designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADD) viruses into the hypothalamus of normoglycaemic and diabetic AgRP-ires-cre and POMC-cre mice to chemogenetically activate or inhibit these neuronal populations. Despite robust changes in food intake, activation or inhibition of AgRP neurons did not affect glycaemia, while activation caused significant (P = 0.014) impairment in insulin sensitivity. Stimulation of AgRP neurons in diabetic mice reversed leptin's ability to inhibit feeding but did not counter leptin's ability to lower blood glucose levels. Notably, the inhibition of POMC neurons stimulated feeding while decreasing glucose levels in normoglycaemic mice. The findings suggest that leptin's effects on feeding by AgRP neurons are mediated by changes in neuronal firing, while the control of glucose balance by these cells is independent of chemogenetic activation or inhibition. The firing-dependent glucose lowering mechanism within POMC neurons is a potential target for the development of novel anti-diabetic medicines.