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Sex differences in microglial CX3CR1 signalling determine obesity susceptibility in mice.

ABSTRACT: Female mice are less susceptible to the negative metabolic consequences of high-fat diet feeding than male mice, for reasons that are incompletely understood. Here we identify sex-specific differences in hypothalamic microglial activation via the CX3CL1-CX3CR1 pathway that mediate the resistance of female mice to diet-induced obesity. Female mice fed a high-fat diet maintain CX3CL1-CX3CR1 levels while male mice show reductions in both ligand and receptor expression. Female Cx3cr1 knockout mice develop 'male-like' hypothalamic microglial accumulation and activation, accompanied by a marked increase in their susceptibility to diet-induced obesity. Conversely, increasing brain CX3CL1 levels in male mice through central pharmacological administration or virally mediated hypothalamic overexpression converts them to a 'female-like' metabolic phenotype with reduced microglial activation and body-weight gain. These data implicate sex differences in microglial activation in the modulation of energy homeostasis and identify CX3CR1 signalling as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5322503 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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