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CART neurons in the arcuate nucleus and lateral hypothalamic area exert differential controls on energy homeostasis


OBJECTIVE: The cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) codes for a pivotal neuropeptide important in the control of appetite and energy homeostasis. However, limited understanding exists for the defined effector sites underlying CART function, as discrepant effects of central CART administration have been reported. METHODS: By combining Cart-cre knock-in mice with a Cart adeno-associated viral vector designed using the flip-excision switch (AAV-FLEX) technology, specific reintroduction or overexpression of CART selectively in CART neurons in the arcuate nucleus (Arc) and lateral hypothalamic area (LHA), respectively, was achieved. The effects on energy homeostasis control were investigated. RESULTS: Here we show that CART neuron-specific reintroduction of CART into the Arc and LHA leads to distinct effects on energy homeostasis control. Specifically, CART reintroduction into the Arc of otherwise CART-deficient Cart(cre/cre) mice markedly decreased fat mass and body weight, whereas CART reintroduction into the LHA caused significant fat mass gain and lean mass loss, but overall unaltered body weight. The reduced adiposity in Arc(CART);Cart(cre/cre) mice was associated with an increase in both energy expenditure and physical activity, along with significantly decreased Npy mRNA levels in the Arc but with no change in food consumption. Distinctively, the elevated fat mass in LHA(CART);Cart(cre/cre) mice was accompanied by diminished insulin responsiveness and glucose tolerance, greater spontaneous food intake, and reduced energy expenditure, which is consistent with the observed decrease of brown adipose tissue temperature. This is also in line with significantly reduced tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) and notably increased corticotropin-releasing hormone (Crh) mRNA expressions in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these results identify catabolic and anabolic effects of CART in the Arc and LHA, respectively, demonstrating for the first time the distinct and region-specific functions of CART in controlling feeding and energy homeostasis.

Type Journal
ISBN 2212-8778 (Electronic) 2212-8778 (Linking)
Authors Lau, J.; Farzi, A.; Qi, Y.; Heilbronn, R.; Mietzsch, M.; Shi, Y. C.; Herzog, H.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Herbert Herzog
Publisher Name Molecular Metabolism
Published Date 2018-01-31
Published Volume 7
Published Issue January 18
Published Pages 102-118
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1016/j.molmet.2017.10.015
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version