The long-term objective of this proposal is to understand how the brain senses levels of peripheral energy stores and integrates these signals to maintain energy balance. Studies will focus on the central melanocortin system in rodent models and on the mechanisms by which it can sense and integrate a variety of nutrient, hormonal and neuronal signals to regulate food intake, energy expenditure and nutrient metabolism. This system consists of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and the POMC-derived MSH peptides together with agouti related protein (AGRP) which is a potent antagonist of the MSH peptides at specific melanocortin receptors (MC3/4-R). a-MSH inhibits feeding and stimulates energy expenditure while AGRP exerts opposite effects.
Aim 1 will use recently generated transgenic mice that overexpress a-MSH and g- MSH (Tg-MSH) to study the role of the melanocortin system in modulating responses to energy excess on a high fat diet and to characterize underlying mechanisms with a focus on energy expenditure, fuel oxidation, sympathetic activity and hepatic steatosis. Tg-MSH mice demonstrate reduced body weight, adiposity and hepatic fat accumulation (without changes in food intake) and improved glucose metabolism, particularly in the setting of diet-induced obesity. The role of AGRP will be similarly studied in Aim 2 using a genetic model of Agrp deletion and a novel, potent, small molecule AGRP antagonist.
Aims 3 &4 will focus on the regulation of POMC and AGRP peptide processing in the hypothalamus in vivo and in vitro with respect to energy balance. This is an important consideration because POMC is processed to a number of peptides with different and even opposing biological activities. The ability of these peptide products to interact and regulate energy balance will be studied in parallel using icv injection protocols. AGRP is also processed by PC1 to a biologically active C-terminal fragment but little is known about the regulation of processing or about the N-terminal peptides that are produced that may also affect energy balance. AGRP processing will be characterized using novel assays and the effects of these processed peptides on energy balance will then be studied. This proposal is highly relevant to human energy balance as mutations in POMC, POMC processing enzymes and in the MC4-R have all been associated with human obesity and there are many parallels with rodent models of melanocortin deficiency.
The increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes makes it imperative to understand the mechanisms by which the brain regulates energy balance in order to design more effective prevention and treatment options. This proposal will use rodent models to study the brain melanocortin system which plays a key role in regulating energy balance. This system consists of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and the POMC-derived MSH peptides together with agouti related protein (AGRP) which is a potent antagonist of the MSH peptides at specific melanocortin receptors (MC3/4-R). ?-MSH inhibits feeding and stimulates energy expenditure while AGRP exerts opposite effects. This proposal is highly relevant to human energy balance as mutations in POMC, POMC processing enzymes and in the MC4-R have all been associated with human obesity and there are many parallels with rodent models of melanocortin deficiency.
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|Xiao, Ennian; Kim, Andrea J; Dutia, Roxanne et al. (2010) Effects of estradiol on cerebrospinal fluid levels of agouti-related protein in ovariectomized rhesus monkeys. Endocrinology 151:1002-9|
|Plum, Leona; Lin, Hua V; Dutia, Roxanne et al. (2009) The obesity susceptibility gene Cpe links FoxO1 signaling in hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin neurons with regulation of food intake. Nat Med 15:1195-201|
|Wallingford, Nicholas; Perroud, Bertrand; Gao, Qian et al. (2009) Prolylcarboxypeptidase regulates food intake by inactivating alpha-MSH in rodents. J Clin Invest 119:2291-303|