Differential contribution of POMC and AgRP neurons to the regulation of regional autonomic nerve activity by leptin.
ABSTRACT: The autonomic nervous system is critically involved in mediating the control by leptin of many physiological processes. Here, we examined the role of the leptin receptor (LepR) in proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons in mediating the effects of leptin on regional sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve activity.We analyzed how deletion of the LepR in POMC neurons (POMCCre/LepRfl/fl mice) or AgRP neurons (AgRPCre/LepRfl/fl mice) affects the ability of leptin to increase sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve activity. We also studied mice lacking the catalytic p110? or p110? subunits of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) in POMC neurons.Leptin-evoked increase in sympathetic nerve activity subserving thermogenic brown adipose tissue was partially blunted in mice lacking the LepR in either POMC or AgRP neurons. On the other hand, loss of the LepR in AgRP, but not POMC, neurons interfered with leptin-induced sympathetic nerve activation to the inguinal fat depot. The increase in hepatic sympathetic traffic induced by leptin was also reduced in mice lacking the LepR in AgRP, but not POMC, neurons whereas LepR deletion in either AgRP or POMC neurons attenuated the hepatic parasympathetic nerve activation evoked by leptin. Interestingly, the renal, lumbar and splanchnic sympathetic nerve activation caused by leptin were significantly blunted in POMCCre/LepRfl/fl mice, but not in AgRPCre/LepRfl/fl mice. However, loss of the LepR in POMC or AgRP neurons did not interfere with the ability of leptin to increase sympathetic traffic to the adrenal gland. Furthermore, ablation of the p110?, but not the p110?, isoform of PI3K from POMC neurons eliminated the leptin-elicited renal sympathetic nerve activation. Finally, we show trans-synaptic retrograde tracing of both POMC and AgRP neurons from the kidneys.POMC and AgRP neurons are differentially involved in mediating the effects of leptin on autonomic nerve activity subserving various tissues and organs.
Project description:Two known types of leptin-responsive neurons reside within the arcuate nucleus: the agouti gene-related peptide (AgRP)/neuropeptide Y (NPY) neuron and the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neuron. By deleting the leptin receptor gene (Lepr) specifically in AgRP/NPY and/or POMC neurons of mice, we examined the several and combined contributions of these neurons to leptin action. Body weight and adiposity were increased by Lepr deletion from AgRP and POMC neurons individually, and simultaneous deletion in both neurons (A+P LEPR-KO mice) further increased these measures. Young (periweaning) A+P LEPR-KO mice exhibit hyperphagia and decreased energy expenditure, with increased weight gain, oxidative sparing of triglycerides, and increased fat accumulation. Interestingly, however, many of these abnormalities were attenuated in adult animals, and high doses of leptin partially suppress food intake in the A+P LEPR-KO mice. Although mildly hyperinsulinemic, the A+P LEPR-KO mice displayed normal glucose tolerance and fertility. Thus, AgRP/NPY and POMC neurons each play mandatory roles in aspects of leptin-regulated energy homeostasis, high leptin levels in adult mice mitigate the importance of leptin-responsiveness in these neurons for components of energy balance, suggesting the presence of other leptin-regulated pathways that partially compensate for the lack of leptin action on the POMC and AgRP/NPY neurons.
Project description:Leptin, a hormone produced in white adipose tissue, acts in the brain to communicate fuel status, suppress appetite following a meal, promote energy expenditure and maintain blood glucose stability1,2. Dysregulation of leptin or its receptors (LEPR) results in severe obesity and diabetes3-5. Although intensive studies on leptin have transformed obesity and diabetes research2,6, clinical applications of the molecule are still limited 7 , at least in part owing to the complexity and our incomplete understanding of the underlying neural circuits. The hypothalamic neurons that express agouti-related peptide (AGRP) and pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) have been hypothesized to be the main first-order, leptin-responsive neurons. Selective deletion of LEPR in these neurons with the Cre-loxP system, however, has previously failed to recapitulate, or only marginally recapitulated, the obesity and diabetes that are seen in LEPR-deficient Lepr db/db mice, suggesting that AGRP or POMC neurons are not directly required for the effects of leptin in vivo8-10. The primary neural targets of leptin are therefore still unclear. Here we conduct a systematic, unbiased survey of leptin-responsive neurons in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice and exploit CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genetic ablation of LEPR in vivo. Unexpectedly, we find that AGRP neurons but not POMC neurons are required for the primary action of leptin to regulate both energy balance and glucose homeostasis. Leptin deficiency disinhibits AGRP neurons, and chemogenetic inhibition of these neurons reverses both diabetic hyperphagia and hyperglycaemia. In sharp contrast to previous studies, we show that CRISPR-mediated deletion of LEPR in AGRP neurons causes severe obesity and diabetes, faithfully replicating the phenotype of Lepr db/db mice. We also uncover divergent mechanisms of acute and chronic inhibition of AGRP neurons by leptin (presynaptic potentiation of GABA (?-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmission and postsynaptic activation of ATP-sensitive potassium channels, respectively). Our findings identify the underlying basis of the neurobiological effects of leptin and associated metabolic disorders.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Arcuate proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons are critical nodes in the control of body weight. Often characterized simply as direct targets for leptin, recent data suggest a more complex architecture. METHODS:Using single cell RNA sequencing, we have generated an atlas of gene expression in murine POMC neurons. RESULTS:Of 163 neurons, 118 expressed high levels of Pomc with little/no Agrp expression and were considered "canonical" POMC neurons (P+). The other 45/163 expressed low levels of Pomc and high levels of Agrp (A+P+). Unbiased clustering analysis of P+ neurons revealed four different classes, each with distinct cell surface receptor gene expression profiles. Further, only 12% (14/118) of P+ neurons expressed the leptin receptor (Lepr) compared with 58% (26/45) of A+P+ neurons. In contrast, the insulin receptor (Insr) was expressed at similar frequency on P+ and A+P+ neurons (64% and 55%, respectively). CONCLUSION:These data reveal arcuate POMC neurons to be a highly heterogeneous population. Accession Numbers: GSE92707.
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:AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Obesity is associated with ageing and increased energy intake, while restriction of energy intake improves health and longevity in multiple organisms; the NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) is implicated in this process. Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus are critical for energy balance regulation, and the level of SIRT1 protein decreases with age in the ARC. In the current study we tested whether conditional Sirt1 overexpression in mouse POMC or AgRP neurons prevents age-associated weight gain and diet-induced obesity. METHODS: We targeted Sirt1 cDNA sequence into the Rosa26 locus and generated conditional Sirt1 knock-in mice. These mice were crossed with mice harbouring either Pomc-Cre or Agrp-Cre and the metabolic variables, food intake, energy expenditure and sympathetic activity in adipose tissue of the resultant mice were analysed. We also used a hypothalamic cell line to investigate the molecular mechanism by which Sirt1 overexpression modulates leptin signalling. RESULTS: Conditional Sirt1 overexpression in mouse POMC or AgRP neurons prevented age-associated weight gain; overexpression in POMC neurons stimulated energy expenditure via increased sympathetic activity in adipose tissue, whereas overexpression in AgRP neurons suppressed food intake. SIRT1 improved leptin sensitivity in hypothalamic neurons in vitro and in vivo by downregulating protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B, T cell protein-tyrosine phosphatase and suppressor of cytokine signalling 3. However, these phenotypes were absent in mice consuming a high-fat, high-sucrose diet due to decreases in ARC SIRT1 protein and hypothalamic NAD(+) levels. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: ARC SIRT1 is a negative regulator of energy balance, and decline in ARC SIRT1 function contributes to disruption of energy homeostasis by ageing and diet-induced obesity.
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 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:Although the central nervous system melanocortin system is an important regulator of energy balance, the role of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in mediating the chronic effects of leptin on appetite, blood pressure, and glucose regulation is unknown. Using Cre/loxP technology we tested whether leptin receptor deletion in POMC neurons (LepR(flox/flox)/POMC-Cre mice) attenuates the chronic effects of leptin to increase mean arterial pressure (MAP), enhance glucose use and oxygen consumption, and reduce appetite. LepR(flox/flox)/POMC-Cre, wild-type, LepR(flox/flox), and POMC-Cre mice were instrumented for MAP and heart rate measurement by telemetry and venous catheters for infusions. LepR(flox/flox)/POMC-Cre mice were heavier, hyperglycemic, hyperinsulinemic, and hyperleptinemic compared with wild-type, LepR(flox/flox), and POMC-Cre mice. Despite exhibiting features of metabolic syndrome, LepR(flox/flox)/POMC-Cre mice had normal MAP and heart rate compared with LepR(flox/flox) but lower MAP and heart rate compared with wild-type mice. After a 5-day control period, leptin was infused (2 ?g/kg per minute, IV) for 7 days. In control mice, leptin increased MAP by ?5 mm Hg despite decreasing food intake by ?35%. In contrast, leptin infusion in LepR(flox/flox)/POMC-Cre mice reduced MAP by ?3 mm Hg and food intake by ?28%. Leptin significantly decreased insulin and glucose levels in control mice but not in LepR(flox/flox)/POMC-Cre mice. Leptin increased oxygen consumption in LepR(flox/flox)/POMC-Cre and wild-type mice. Activation of POMC neurons is necessary for the chronic effects of leptin to raise MAP and reduce insulin and glucose levels, whereas leptin receptors in other areas of the brain other than POMC neurons appear to play a key role in mediating the chronic effects of leptin on appetite and oxygen consumption.
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:Neuropeptide Y (NPY)/Agouti-related protein (AgRP) neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus are part of a neuroendocrine feedback loop that regulates feeding behavior and glucose homeostasis. NPY/AgRP neurons sense peripheral signals (including the hormones leptin, insulin, and ghrelin) and integrate those signals with inputs from other brain regions. These inputs modify both long-term changes in gene transcription and acute changes in the electrical activity of these neurons, leading to a coordinated response to maintain energy and glucose homeostasis. However, the mechanisms by which the hormones insulin and leptin acutely modify the electrical activity of these neurons remain unclear. In this study, we show that loss of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase catalytic subunits p110? and p110? in AgRP neurons abrogates the leptin- and insulin-induced inhibition of AgRP neurons. Moreover, continual disruption of p110? and p110? in AgRP neurons results in increased weight gain. The increased adiposity was concomitant with a hypometabolic phenotype: decreased energy expenditure independent of changes in food intake. Deficiency of p110? and p110? in AgRP neurons also impaired glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. In summary, these data highlight the requirement of both p110? and p110? in AgRP neurons for the proper regulation of energy balance and glucose homeostasis.