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      Impaired hypothalamic regulation of endocrine function and delayed counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia in Magel2-null mice.

      Animals, Antigens, Neoplasm, genetics, metabolism, Corticosterone, Female, Glucose Tolerance Test, Growth Hormone, Hypoglycemia, Hypothalamus, physiology, Insulin, pharmacology, Male, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Phenotype, Proteins, Restraint, Physical, Sex Characteristics, Stress, Physiological

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          Hypothalamic dysfunction may underlie endocrine abnormalities in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a genetic disorder that features GH deficiency, obesity, and infertility. One of the genes typically inactivated in PWS, MAGEL2, is highly expressed in the hypothalamus. Mice deficient for Magel2 are obese with increased fat mass and decreased lean mass and have blunted circadian rhythm. Here, we demonstrate that Magel2-null mice have abnormalities of hypothalamic endocrine axes that recapitulate phenotypes in PWS. Magel2-null mice had elevated basal corticosterone levels, and although male Magel2-null mice had an intact corticosterone response to restraint and to insulin-induced hypoglycemia, female Magel2-null mice failed to respond to hypoglycemia with increased corticosterone. After insulin-induced hypoglycemia, Magel2-null mice of both sexes became more profoundly hypoglycemic, and female mice were slower to recover euglycemia, suggesting an impaired hypothalamic counterregulatory response. GH insufficiency can produce abnormal body composition, such as that seen in PWS and in Magel2-null mice. Male Magel2-null mice had Igf-I levels similar to control littermates. Female Magel2-null mice had low Igf-I levels and reduced GH release in response to stimulation with ghrelin. Female Magel2-null mice did respond to GHRH, suggesting that their GH deficiency has a hypothalamic rather than pituitary origin. Female Magel2-null mice also had higher serum adiponectin than expected, considering their increased fat mass, and thyroid (T(4)) levels were low. Together, these findings strongly suggest that loss of MAGEL2 contributes to endocrine dysfunction of hypothalamic origin in individuals with PWS.

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