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Critical role of arcuate Y4 receptors and the melanocortin system in pancreatic polypeptide-induced reduction in food intake in mice


BACKGROUND: Pancreatic polypeptide (PP) is a potent anti-obesity agent known to inhibit food intake in the absence of nausea, but the mechanism behind this process is unknown. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we demonstrate that in response to i.p. injection of PP in wild type but not in Y4 receptor knockout mice, immunostaining for the neuronal activation marker c-Fos is induced specifically in neurons of the nucleus tractus solitarius and the area postrema in the brainstem, notably in cells also showing immunostaining for tyrosine hydroxylase. Importantly, strong c-Fos activation is also detected in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC), particularly in neurons that co-express alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), the anorexigenic product of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene. Interestingly, other hypothalamic regions such as the paraventricular nucleus, the ventromedial nucleus and the lateral hypothalamic area also show c-Fos induction after PP injection. In addition to c-Fos activation, PP injection up-regulates POMC mRNA expression in the ARC as detected by in situ hybridization. These effects are a direct consequence of local Y4 signaling, since hypothalamus-specific conditional Y4 receptor knockout abolishes PP-induced ARC c-Fos activation and blocks the PP-induced increase in POMC mRNA expression. Additionally, the hypophagic effect of i.p. PP seen in wild type mice is completely absent in melanocortin 4 receptor knockout mice. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, these findings show that PP reduces food intake predominantly via stimulation of the anorexigenic alpha-MSH signaling pathway, and that this effect is mediated by direct action on local Y4 receptors within the ARC, highlighting a potential novel avenue for the treatment of obesity.

Type Journal
ISBN 1932-6203 (Electronic)
Authors Lin, S.; Shi, Y. C.; Yulyaningsih, E.; Aljanova, A.; Zhang, L.; Macia, L.; Nguyen, A. D.; Lin, E. J.; During, M. J.; Herzog, H.; Sainsbury, A.;
Responsible Garvan Author Shu Lin
Publisher Name PLoS One
Published Date 2009-01-01
Published Volume 4
Published Issue 12
Published Pages e8488
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version