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      Effect of Fasting on Cocaine-Amphetamine-Regulated Transcript, Neuropeptide Y, and Leptin Receptor Expression in the Non-Human Primate Hypothalamus

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          Leptin is a cytokine produced by white adipose tissue that circulates in direct proportion to adiposity and is an important signal of energy balance. Leptin inhibits food intake in rodents by inhibiting the orexigenic neuropetides neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti regulated peptide (AgRP) and stimulating the anorexigenic neuropeptides α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and cocaine-amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART). In order to extend our understanding of neuroendocrine regulation of appetite in the primate, we determined the effect of a metabolic challenge on CART, NPY, and leptin receptor (Ob-R) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) in the nonhuman primate (NHP) hypothalamus. Ten adult female rhesus monkeys were either maintained on a regular diet or fasted for two days before euthanasia. CART, NPY, and Ob-R mRNA were measured by in situ hybridization histochemistry (ISHH). A 2-day fast decreased CART expression in the ARC, increased NPY gene expression in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) and paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and increased Ob-R expression in the ventromedial nucleus (VMN). This is the first report that fasting inhibits CART expression and stimulates Ob-R expression in monkeys. Increased NPY expression in the SON and PVN, but not the ARC of fasted monkeys also is novel. With some exceptions, our observations are confirmatory of findings in rodent studies. Similarities in the neuroendocrine responses to a metabolic challenge in monkeys and rodents support extending existing hypotheses of neuroendocrine control of energy homeostasis to primates.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Identification of targets of leptin action in rat hypothalamus.

          The hypothesis that leptin (OB protein) acts in the hypothalamus to reduce food intake and body weight is based primarily on evidence from leptin-deficient, ob/ob mice. To investigate whether leptin exerts similar effects in normal animals, we administered leptin intracerebroventricularly (icv) to Long-Evans rats. Leptin administration (3.5 microg icv) at the onset of nocturnal feeding reduced food intake by 50% at 1 h and by 42% at 4 h, as compared with vehicle-treated controls (both P < 0.05). To investigate the basis for this effect, we used in situ hybridization (ISH) to determine whether leptin alters expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides involved in energy homeostasis. Two injections of leptin (3.5 microg icv) during a 40 h fast significantly decreased levels of mRNA for neuropeptide Y (NPY, which stimulates food intake) in the arcuate nucleus (-24%) and increased levels of mRNA for corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH, an inhibitor of food intake) in the paraventricular nucleus (by 38%) (both P < 0.05 vs. vehicle-treated controls). To investigate the anatomic basis for these effects, we measured leptin receptor gene expression in rat brain by ISH using a probe complementary to mRNA for all leptin receptor splice variants. Leptin receptor mRNA was densely concentrated in the arcuate nucleus, with lower levels present in the ventromedial and dorsomedial hypothalamic nuclei and other brain areas involved in energy balance. These findings suggest that leptin action in rat hypothalamus involves altered expression of key neuropeptide genes, and implicate leptin in the hypothalamic response to fasting.
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            Hypothalamic CART is a new anorectic peptide regulated by leptin.

             N Vrang,  L Thim,  U Ribel (1998)
            The mammalian hypothalamus strongly influences ingestive behaviour through several different signalling molecules and receptor systems. Here we show that CART (cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript), a brain-located peptide, is a satiety factor and is closely associated with the actions of two important regulators of food intake, leptin and neuropeptide Y. Food-deprived animals show a pronounced decrease in expression of CART messenger RNA in the arcuate nucleus. In animal models of obesity with disrupted leptin signalling, CART mRNA is almost absent from the arcuate nucleus. Peripheral administration of leptin to obese mice stimulates CART mRNA expression. When injected intracerebroventricularly into rats, recombinant CART peptide inhibits both normal and starvation-induced feeding, and completely blocks the feeding response induced by neuropeptide Y. An antiserum against CART increases feeding in normal rats, indicating that CART may be an endogenous inhibitor of food intake in normal animals.
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              Leptin activates hypothalamic CART neurons projecting to the spinal cord.

              The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin decreases body weight in part by activating the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in increased thermogenesis and energy expenditure. We investigated hypothalamic pathways underlying leptin's effects on stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. We found that leptin activates neurons in the retrochiasmatic area (RCA) and lateral arcuate nucleus (Arc) that innervate the thoracic spinal cord and also contain cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART). We also found that most CART-containing neurons in the RCA and Arc of the hypothalamus also contain proopiomelanocortin (POMC) mRNA. The finding that leptin activates CART/POMC neurons innervating sympathetic preganglionic neurons in the thoracic spinal cord suggests that this pathway may contribute to the increased thermogenesis and energy expenditure and decreased body weight observed following leptin administration.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                January 2007
                23 November 2006
                : 84
                : 2
                : 83-93
                Departments of aObstetrics and Gynaecology and bPhysiology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; cDepartment of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, FUHS/Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, Ill., USA
                97494 Neuroendocrinology 2006;84:83–93
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 2, References: 57, Pages: 11
                Appetite and Energy Balance


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