Regulation of food intake by astrocytes in the brainstem dorsal vagal complex.
ABSTRACT: A role for glial cells in brain circuits controlling feeding has begun to be identified with hypothalamic astrocyte signaling implicated in regulating energy homeostasis. The nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS), within the brainstem dorsal vagal complex (DVC), integrates vagal afferent information from the viscera and plays a role in regulating food intake. We hypothesized that astrocytes in this nucleus respond to, and influence, food intake. Mice fed high-fat chow for 12?hr during the dark phase showed NTS astrocyte activation, reflected in an increase in the number (65%) and morphological complexity of glial-fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunoreactive cells adjacent to the area postrema (AP), compared to control chow fed mice. To measure the impact of astrocyte activation on food intake, we delivered designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) to DVC astrocytes (encompassing NTS, AP, and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus) using an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector (AAV-GFAP-hM3Dq_mCherry). Chemogenetic activation with clozapine-N-oxide (0.3 mg/kg) produced in greater morphological complexity in astrocytes and reduced dark-phase feeding by 84% at 4 hr postinjection compared with vehicle treatment. hM3Dq-activation of DVC astrocytes also reduced refeeding after an overnight fast (71% lower, 4 hr postinjection) when compared to AAV-GFAP-mCherry expressing control mice. DREADD-mediated astrocyte activation did not impact locomotion. hM3Dq activation of DVC astrocytes induced c-FOS in neighboring neuronal feeding circuits (including in the parabrachial nucleus). This indicates that NTS astrocytes respond to acute nutritional excess, are involved in the integration of peripheral satiety signals, and can reduce food intake when activated.
Project description:Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors are a promising system for transgene delivery into the central nervous system (CNS) based on their safety profile and long-term gene expression. Gene delivery to the CNS has largely been neuron centric but advances in AAV technology are facilitating the development of approaches to enable transduction of glial cells. Considering the role of astrocytes in the on-going secondary damage in spinal cord injury (SCI), an AAV vector that targets astrocytes could show benefit as a potential treatment. Transduction efficiency, transgene expression and cellular tropism were compared for the AAV serotypes AAV5, AAV9 and AAVRec2 whereby destabilised yellow fluorescent protein (dYFP) was controlled by the GFAP or the truncated GfaABC1D promoter. The vectors were tested in primary spinal cord astrocyte cell culture, spinal cord slice culture and an in vivo model of SCI contusion. AAV5 resulted in greater transduction efficiency, transgene expression and astrocyte tropism compared with AAV9 and AAVRec2. In a rodent model of SCI, robust transgene expression by AAV5-GFAP/GfaABC1D-dYFP was observed through 12 mm of spinal cord tissue and expression was largely restricted to astrocytes. Thus, AAV5-GFAP/GfaABC1D carries the potential as a potential gene therapy vector, particularly for transducing astrocytes in the damaged spinal cord.
Project description:Astrocytes are well established modulators of extracellular glutamate, but their direct influence on energy balance-relevant behaviors is largely understudied. As the anorectic effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists are partly mediated by central modulation of glutamatergic signaling, we tested the hypothesis that astrocytic GLP-1R signaling regulates energy balance in rats. Central or peripheral administration of a fluorophore-labeled GLP-1R agonist, exendin-4, localizes within astrocytes and neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), a hindbrain nucleus critical for energy balance control. This effect is mediated by GLP-1R, as the uptake of systemically administered fluorophore-tagged exendin-4 was blocked by central pretreatment with the competitive GLP-1R antagonist exendin-(9-39). Ex vivo analyses show prolonged exendin-4-induced activation (live cell calcium signaling) of NTS astrocytes and neurons; these effects are also attenuated by exendin-(9-39), indicating mediation by the GLP-1R. In vitro analyses show that the application of GLP-1R agonists increases cAMP levels in astrocytes. Immunohistochemical analyses reveal that endogenous GLP-1 axons form close synaptic apposition with NTS astrocytes. Finally, pharmacological inhibition of NTS astrocytes attenuates the anorectic and body weight-suppressive effects of intra-NTS GLP-1R activation. Collectively, data demonstrate a role for NTS astrocytic GLP-1R signaling in energy balance control.Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists reduce food intake and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of obesity, but the cellular mechanisms underlying the anorectic effects of GLP-1 require further investigation. Astrocytes represent a major cellular population in the CNS that regulates neurotransmission, yet the role of astrocytes in mediating energy balance is largely unstudied. The current data provide novel evidence that astrocytes within the NTS are relevant for energy balance control by GLP-1 signaling. Here, we report that GLP-1R agonists activate and internalize within NTS astrocytes, while behavioral data suggest the pharmacological relevance of NTS astrocytic GLP-1R activation for food intake and body weight. These findings support a previously unknown role for CNS astrocytes in energy balance control by GLP-1 signaling.
Project description:HIV-1 Tat is a major culprit for HIV/neuroAIDS. One of the consistent hallmarks of HIV/neuroAIDS is reactive astrocytes or astrocytosis, characterized by increased cytoplasmic accumulation of the intermediate filament glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). We have shown that that Tat induces GFAP expression in astrocytes and that GFAP activation is indispensable for astrocyte-mediated Tat neurotoxicity. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not known. In this study, we showed that Tat expression or GFAP expression led to formation of GFAP aggregates and induction of unfolded protein response (UPR) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in astrocytes. In addition, we demonstrated that GFAP up-regulation and aggregation in astrocytes were necessary but also sufficient for UPR/ER stress induction in Tat-expressing astrocytes and for astrocyte-mediated Tat neurotoxicity. Importantly, we demonstrated that inhibition of Tat- or GFAP-induced UPR/ER stress by the chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyrate significantly alleviated astrocyte-mediated Tat neurotoxicity in vitro and in the brain of Tat-expressing mice. Taken together, these results show that HIV-1 Tat expression leads to UPR/ER stress in astrocytes, which in turn contributes to astrocyte-mediated Tat neurotoxicity, and raise the possibility of developing HIV/neuroAIDS therapeutics targeted at UPR/ER stress.
Project description:Centrally administered glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) supresses food intake. Here we demonstrate that GLP-1-producing (PPG) neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) are the predominant source of endogenous GLP-1 within the brain. Selective ablation of NTS PPG neurons by viral expression of diphtheria toxin subunit A substantially reduced active GLP-1 concentrations in brain and spinal cord. Contrary to expectations, this loss of central GLP-1 had no significant effect on the ad libitum feeding of mice, affecting neither daily chow intake nor body weight or glucose tolerance. Only after bigger challenges to homeostasis were PPG neurons necessary for food intake control. PPG-ablated mice increased food intake after a prolonged fast and after a liquid diet preload. Consistent with our ablation data, acute inhibition of hM4Di-expressing PPG neurons did not affect ad libitum feeding; however, it increased refeeding intake after fast and blocked stress-induced hypophagia. Additionally, chemogenetic PPG neuron activation through hM3Dq caused a strong acute anorectic effect. We conclude that PPG neurons are not involved in primary intake regulation but form part of a secondary satiation/satiety circuit, which is activated by both psychogenic stress and large meals. Given their hypophagic capacity, PPG neurons might be an attractive drug target in obesity treatment.
Project description:Tat interaction with astrocytes has been shown to be important for Tat neurotoxicity and HIV/neuroAIDS. We have recently shown that Tat expression leads to increased glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression and aggregation and activation of unfolded protein response/endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in astrocytes and causes neurotoxicity. However, the exact molecular mechanism of astrocyte-mediated Tat neurotoxicity is not defined. In this study, we showed that neurotoxic factors other than Tat protein itself were present in the supernatant of Tat-expressing astrocytes. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry revealed significantly elevated lysosomal hydrolytic enzymes and plasma membrane-associated proteins in the supernatant of Tat-expressing astrocytes. We confirmed that Tat expression and infection of pseudotyped HIV.GFP led to increased lysosomal exocytosis from mouse astrocytes and human astrocytes. We found that Tat-induced lysosomal exocytosis was tightly coupled to astrocyte-mediated Tat neurotoxicity. In addition, we demonstrated that Tat-induced lysosomal exocytosis was astrocyte-specific and required GFAP expression and was mediated by ER stress. Taken together, these results show for the first time that Tat promotes lysosomal exocytosis in astrocytes and causes neurotoxicity through GFAP activation and ER stress induction in astrocytes and suggest a common cascade through which aberrant astrocytosis/GFAP up-regulation potentiates neurotoxicity and contributes to neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:The accumulation of aggregated amyloid-? (A?) in amyloid plaques is a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Reactive astrocytes are intimately associated with amyloid plaques; however, their role in AD pathogenesis is unclear. We deleted the genes encoding two intermediate filament proteins required for astrocyte activation-glial fibrillary acid protein (Gfap) and vimentin (Vim)-in transgenic mice expressing mutant human amyloid precursor protein and presenilin-1 (APP/PS1). The gene deletions increased amyloid plaque load: APP/PS1 Gfap(-/-)Vim(-/-) mice had twice the plaque load of APP/PS1 Gfap(+/+)Vim(+/+) mice at 8 and 12 mo of age. APP expression and soluble and interstitial fluid A? levels were unchanged, suggesting that the deletions had no effect on APP processing or A? generation. Astrocyte morphology was markedly altered by the deletions: wild-type astrocytes had hypertrophied processes that surrounded and infiltrated plaques, whereas Gfap(-/-)Vim(-/-) astrocytes had little process hypertrophy and lacked contact with adjacent plaques. Moreover, Gfap and Vim gene deletion resulted in a marked increase in dystrophic neurites (2- to 3-fold higher than APP/PS1 Gfap(+/+)Vim(+/+) mice), even after normalization for amyloid load. These results suggest that astrocyte activation limits plaque growth and attenuates plaque-related dystrophic neurites. These activities may require intimate contact between astrocyte and plaque.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication of herpes zoster, but the mechanism of PHN is still unclear. Activation of spinal astrocytes is involved in PHN. Our study aims to explore whether lncRNA KCNA2 antisense RNA (KCNA2-AS) regulates spinal astrocytes in PHN through signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3). METHODS:Varicella zoster virus (VZV)-infected CV-1 cells were injected into rats to construct a PHN model. Primary spinal cord astrocytes were activated using S-Nitrosoglutathione (GSNO). Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP; marker of astrocyte activation), phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3), and KCNA2-AS were analyzed by immunofluorescence and RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization. RNA pull-down and RNA immunoprecipitation were used to detect binding of KCNA2-AS to pSTAT3. RESULTS:KCNA2-AS was highly expressed in the spinal cord tissue of PHN model rats, and was positively correlated with GFAP expression. GFAP was significantly increased in GSNO-induced cells, but the knockdown of KCNA2-AS reversed this result. Meanwhile, pSTAT3 was significantly increased in GSNO-induced cells, but knockdown of KCNA2-AS reduced pSTAT3 within the nucleus while the total pSTAT3 did not change significantly. pSTAT3 bound to KCNA2-AS and this binding increased with GSNO treatment. Furthermore, knockdown of KCNA2-AS in PHN model rats relieved mechanical allodynia. CONCLUSION:Down-regulation of KCNA2-AS alleviates PHN partly by reducing the translocation of pSTAT3 cytoplasm to the nucleus and then inhibiting the activation of spinal astrocytes.
Project description:Chromosomes and genes are non-randomly arranged within the mammalian cell nucleus, and gene clustering is of great significance in transcriptional regulation. However, the relevance of gene clustering and their expression during the differentiation of neural precursor cells (NPCs) into astrocytes remains unclear. We performed a genome-wide enhanced circular chromosomal conformation capture (e4C) to screen for genes associated with the astrocyte-specific gene glial fibrillary acidic protein (Gfap) during astrocyte differentiation. We identified 18 genes that were specifically associated with Gfap and expressed in NPC-derived astrocytes. Our results provide additional evidence for the functional significance of gene clustering in transcriptional regulation during NPC differentiation.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Glucagon-like peptides are co-released from enteroendocrine L cells in the gut and preproglucagon (PPG) neurons in the brainstem. PPG-derived GLP-1/2 are probably key neuroendocrine signals for the control of energy balance and glucose homeostasis. The objective of this study was to determine whether activation of PPG neurons per se modulates glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in vivo. METHODS:We generated glucagon (Gcg) promoter-driven Cre transgenic mice and injected excitatory hM3Dq-mCherry AAV into their brainstem NTS. We characterized the metabolic impact of PPG neuron activation on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity using stable isotopic tracers coupled with hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp. RESULTS:We showed that after ip injection of clozapine N-oxide, Gcg-Cre lean mice transduced with hM3Dq in the brainstem NTS downregulated basal endogenous glucose production and enhanced glucose tolerance following ip glucose tolerance test. Moreover, acute activation of PPG neuronsNTS enhanced whole-body insulin sensitivity as indicated by increased glucose infusion rate as well as augmented insulin-suppression of endogenous glucose production and gluconeogenesis. In contrast, insulin-stimulation of glucose disposal was not altered significantly. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that acute activation of PPG neurons in the brainstem reduces basal glucose production, enhances intraperitoneal glucose tolerance, and augments hepatic insulin sensitivity, suggesting an important physiological role of PPG neurons-mediated circuitry in promoting glycemic control and insulin sensitivity.
Project description:We have previously reported that in the Nuc1 rat, which has a spontaneous mutation in Cryba1 (the gene encoding ?A3/A1-crystallin), astrocytes exhibit decreased Notch signaling, leading to reduced promoter activity for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Interestingly, in both Nuc1 astrocytes and in wild type astrocytes following knockdown of Cryba1, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion is decreased. This has led us to explore signaling mediators that could be regulated by ?A3/A1-crystallin to modulate both GFAP and VEGF. Several studies have shown that the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is involved in the co-regulation of GFAP and VEGF. We show that STAT3 and ?A3/A1-crystallin may co-regulate each other in astrocytes. Such co-regulation would create a positive feedback circuit; i.e., in the cytosol of astrocytes, ?A3/A1-crystallin is necessary for the phosphorylation of STAT3, which then dimerizes and translocates to the nucleus to form DNA-binding complexes, activating transcription of Cryba1. This stoichiometric co-regulation of STAT3 and Cryba1 could potentiate expression of GFAP and secretion of VEGF, both of which are essential for maintaining astrocyte and blood vessel homeostasis in the retina. Consistent with this idea, Cryba1 knockout mice exhibit an abnormal astrocyte pattern and defective remodeling of retinal vessels.