Leptin modulates nutrient reward via inhibitory galanin action on orexin neurons.
ABSTRACT: 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, 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 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: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:The lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) is essential for motivated ingestive and locomotor behaviors that impact body weight, yet it remains unclear how the neurochemically defined subpopulations of LHA neurons contribute to energy balance. In particular, the role of the large population of LHA neurotensin (Nts) neurons has remained ambiguous due to the lack of methods to easily visualize and modulate these neurons. Because LHA Nts neurons are activated by leptin and other anorectic cues and they modulate dopamine or local LHA orexin neurons implicated in energy balance, they may have important, unappreciated roles for coordinating behaviors necessary for proper body weight. In this study, we genetically ablated or chemogenetically inhibited LHA Nts neurons in adult mice to determine their necessity for control of motivated behaviors and body weight. Genetic ablation of LHA Nts neurons resulted in profoundly increased adiposity compared with mice with intact LHA Nts neurons, as well as diminished locomotor activity, energy expenditure, and water intake. Complete loss of LHA Nts neurons also led to downregulation of orexin, revealing important cross-talk between the LHA Nts and orexin populations in maintenance of behavior and body weight. In contrast, chemogenetic inhibition of intact LHA Nts neurons did not disrupt orexin expression, but it suppressed locomotor activity and the adaptive response to leptin. Taken together, these data reveal the necessity of LHA Nts neurons and their activation for controlling energy balance, and that LHA Nts neurons influence behavior and body weight via orexin-dependent and orexin-independent mechanisms.
Project description:Breathing is coupled to metabolism. Leptin, a peptide mainly secreted in proportion to adipose tissue mass, increases energy expenditure with a parallel increase in breathing. We demonstrate that optogenetic activation of LepRb neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) mimics the respiratory stimulation after systemic leptin administration. We show that leptin activates the sodium leak channel (NALCN), thereby depolarizing a subset of glutamatergic (VGluT2) LepRb NTS neurons expressing galanin. Mice with selective deletion of NALCN in LepRb neurons have increased breathing irregularity and central apneas. On a high-fat diet, these mice gain weight with an associated depression of minute ventilation and tidal volume, which are not detected in control littermates. Anatomical mapping reveals LepRb NTS-originating glutamatergic axon terminals in a brainstem inspiratory premotor region (rVRG) and dorsomedial hypothalamus. These findings directly link a defined subset of NTS LepRb cells to the matching of ventilation to 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:Both orexin and neurotensin are expressed in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) and have been implicated in the regulation of feeding, motor activity and the reward system. A double label immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization studies showed that neurotensin colocalizes with orexin in neurons of the LHA. Pharmacological studies suggested that neurotensin excites orexin-producing neurons (orexin neurons) through activation of neurotensin receptor-2 (NTSR-2) and non-selective cation channels. In situ hybridization study showed that most orexin neurons express neurotensin receptor-2 mRNA but not neurotensin receptor-1 (Ntsr-1) mRNA. Immunohistochemical studies showed that neurotensin-immunoreactive fibers make appositions to orexin neurons. A neurotensin receptor antagonist decreased Fos expression in orexin neurons and wakefulness time in wild type mice when administered intraperitoneally. However, the antagonist did not evoke any effect on these parameters in orexin neuron-ablated mice. These observations suggest the importance of neurotensin in maintaining activity of orexin neurons. The evidence presented here expands our understanding of the regulatory mechanism of orexin neurons.
Project description:Leptin acts via its receptor (LepRb) to regulate neural circuits in concert with body energy stores. In addition to acting on a number of hypothalamic structures, leptin modulates the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system. To determine the sites at which LepRb neurons might directly influence the mesolimbic DA system, we examined the distribution of LepRb neurons and their projections within mesolimbic brain regions. Although the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contains DA LepRb neurons, LepRb neurons are absent from the amygdala and striatum. Also, LepRb-EGFPf mice (which label projections from LepRb neurons throughout the brain) reveal that few LepRb neurons project to the nucleus accumbens (NAc). In contrast, the central amygdala (CeA) and its rostral extension receive copious projections from LepRb neurons. Indeed, LepRb-specific anterograde tracing demonstrates (and retrograde tracing confirms) that VTA LepRb neurons project to the extended CeA (extCeA) but not the NAc. Consistently, leptin promotes cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation in the extCeA, but not NAc, of leptin-deficient animals. Furthermore, transgenic mice expressing the trans-synaptic tracer wheat germ agglutinin in LepRb neurons reveal the innervation of CeA cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) neurons by LepRb neurons, and leptin suppresses the increased CeA CART expression of leptin-deficient animals. Thus, LepRb VTA neurons represent a subclass of VTA DA neurons that specifically innervates and controls the extCeA; we hypothesize that these neurons primarily modulate CeA-directed behaviors.
Project description:Dopamine signaling is a crucial part of the brain reward system and can affect feeding behavior. Dopamine receptors are also expressed in the hypothalamus, which is known to control energy metabolism in peripheral tissues. Here we show that pharmacological or chemogenetic stimulation of dopamine receptor 2 (D2R) expressing cells in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) and the zona incerta (ZI) decreases body weight and stimulates brown fat activity in rodents in a feeding-independent manner. LHA/ZI D2R stimulation requires an intact sympathetic nervous system and orexin system to exert its action and involves inhibition of PI3K in the LHA/ZI. We further demonstrate that, as early as 3 months after onset of treatment, patients treated with the D2R agonist cabergoline experience an increase in energy expenditure that persists for one year, leading to total body weight and fat loss through a prolactin-independent mechanism. Our results may provide a mechanistic explanation for how clinically used D2R agonists act in the CNS to regulate energy balance.