Leptin is an adipose-derived hormone that is now well-known for its ability to reduce food intake and body weight. However, during chronic leptin treatment, food intake is initially suppressed, but then returns to normal or near normal levels despite leptin s continued suppression of body weight gain. This proposal explores mechanisms that potentially underlie this recovery of feeing. The overarching hypothesis is that food intake returns to normal during chronic leptin treatment due to the action of metabolically-driven ingestive controls that are not subject to leptin-induced inhibition. We specifically test the hypothesis that hindbrain catecholamine neurons are important contributors to the recovery of food intake during chronic leptin treatment. Subsets of these neurons have potent stimulatory effects on feeding and widespread actions on fat, glucose and protein mobilization that are essential for effective defense against glucoprivation. Although their essential role in glucorestoration during acute glucoprivic emergency is now unequivocal, the contribution of hindbrain catecholamine neurons to appetite and energy homeostasis during chronically altered metabolic states has not been studied. We know that the stimulation of feeding by these catecholamine neurons is not suppressed by leptin and that they possess neural connections that potentially allow them to override leptin s inhibitory effect on feeding. To test our hypotheses, we have developed a model of chronic central leptin treatment in which we have carefully defined the changes in food intake with respect to the status of body fat stores. This model allows us to define 4 metabolically distinct metabolic states. Besides providing a consistent reference for changes in behavior and neuronal activity during leptin treatment, this model provides a healthy, normophagic but """"""""fatless"""""""" rat which provides a new viewpoint for understanding the interaction of multiple metabolic controls of feeding and energy homeostasis. Experiments in Specific Aim 1 will determine the contribution of hindbrain catecholamine neurons to the behavioral, metabolic and endocrine responses during chronic central leptin treatment. We examine the possibility that the recovery of feeding during chronic leptin treatment may be related to the response of hindbrain catecholamine neurons to the fatless state.
Specific Aim 2 will examine the contribution of hindbrain catecholamine neurons to central patterns of neuronal activation during different phases of chronic central leptin treatment.
Specific Aim 3 will attempt to block the recovery of feeding during chronic leptin treatment by intravenous macronutrient infusions, similar to those shown in previous work to be effective in blocking feeding in response to acute pharmacologically-induced deficits in metabolic fuels. The possibility that the status of body fat stores may alter the glucoregulatory function of hindbrain catecholamine neurons has direct importance for the management of diabetes and its complications, since these neurons control key glucoregulatory responses and are central to survival of inadvertent hypoglycemic bouts.
Hindbrain catecholamine neurons have been demonstrated to be essential for glucose homeostasis and for elicitation of a variety of responses that protect the brain against glucose deficit. In this proposal, we will determine how the activity of these neurons is altered by body fat depletion induced by chronic leptin treatment. Understanding how the status of body fat stores influences the function of glucoregulatory catecholamine neurons has importance for management of diabetes and its complications.
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