Serotonin and insulin are key regulators of homeostatic mechanisms in the hypothalamus. However, in type 2 diabetes, the hypothalamic responsiveness to serotonin is not clearly established. We used a diabetic model, the Goto Kakizaki (GK) rats, to explore insulin receptor expression, insulin and serotonin efficiency in the hypothalamus and liver by means of Akt phosphorylation. Insulin or dexfenfluramine (stimulator of serotonin) treatment induced Akt phosphorylation in Wistar rats but not in GK rats that exhibit down-regulated insulin receptor. Studies in a neuroblastoma cell line showed that serotonin-induced Akt phosphorylation is PI3-kinase dependent. Finally, in response to food intake, hypothalamic serotonin release was reduced in GK rats, indicating impaired responsiveness of this neurotransmitter. In conclusion, hypothalamic serotonin as insulin efficiency is impaired in diabetic GK rats. The insulin-serotonin cross-talk and impairment observed is one potential key modification in the brain during the onset of diabetes.
Genetic, biochemical, and animal model studies strongly suggest a central role for ?-synuclein in the pathogenesis of Parkinsons disease. ?-synuclein lacks a signal peptide sequence and has thus been considered a cytosolic protein. Recent data has suggested that the protein may be released from cells via a non-classical secretory pathway and may therefore exert paracrine effects in the extracellular environment. However, proof that ?-synuclein is actually secreted into the brain extracellular space in vivo has not been obtained. We developed a novel highly sensitive ELISA in conjugation with an in vivo microdialysis technique to measure ?-synuclein in brain interstitial fluid. We show for the first time that ?-synuclein is readily detected in the interstitial fluid of both ?-synuclein transgenic mice and human patients with traumatic brain injury. Our data suggest that ?-synuclein is physiologically secreted by neurons in vivo. This interstitial fluid pool of the protein may have a role in the propagation of synuclein pathology and progression of Parkinsons disease.
Recent studies reported the impact of leptin on peripheral insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization. However, little is known concerning the effect of central leptin on hypothalamic and hepatic insulin efficiency. This study aimed to determine the consequence of chronic intra-cerebroventricular (ICV) leptin or murine leptin antagonist (MLA) infusion on hypothalamic and hepatic insulin signaling pathways, in rats. A 2-week central leptin infusion enhanced insulin-dependent Akt phosphorylation in the liver without changing PTP-1B protein expression, associated to insulin receptor (IR) upregulation and reduced IRS-1 phosphorylation on Ser302 residue. In the hypothalamus, a chronic ICV leptin infusion induced PTP-1B associated with a specific decrease in insulin-dependent Akt phosphorylation. In contrast, a chronic MLA infusion did not alter IR and PTP-1B expressions in hypothalamus and liver. Our results underline a brain leptin-dependent increase in hepatic insulin efficiency as mirrored by IR up-regulation, increased insulin-dependent Akt phosphorylation and reduced IRS-1 phosphorylation on Ser302 residue.
Studies conducted in adult rats have shown that increased fat intake affects brain energy homeostasis and stress response. The neuroendocrine circuits controlling the aforementioned functions continue to mature during puberty. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether post-weaning high-fat consumption can modify the endocrine responses of pubertal rats to an acute stress.
The peripubertal period is critical for the final maturation of circuits controlling energy homeostasis and stress response. However, the consequence of juvenile fat consumption on adult physiology is not clear. This study analyzed the adult consequences of post-weaning fat feeding on limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis components and on metabolic regulators of female rats. Wistar rats were fed either a high fat (HF) diet or the normal chow from weaning to puberty or to 3 months of age. Additional groups crossed their diets at puberty onset. Plasma leptin, insulin, and corticosterone levels were determined by radioimmunoassay and their brain receptors by western blot analysis. Adult HF-fed animals though not overweight, had higher corticosterone and reduced glucocorticoid receptor levels in the hypothalamus and hippocampus, compared to the controls. The alterations in HPA axis emerged already at puberty onset. Leptin receptor levels in the hypothalamus were reduced only by continuous fat feeding from weaning to adulthood. The pre-pubertal period appeared more vulnerable to diet-induced alterations in adulthood than the post-pubertal one. Switching from fat diet to normal chow at puberty onset restored most of the diet-induced alterations in the HPA axis. The corticosteroid circuit rather than the leptin or insulin system appears as the principal target for the peripubertal fat diet-induced effects in adult female rats.
Early changes in neuroendocrine pathways are essential in the development of metabolic pathologies. Thus, it is important to have a better understanding of the signals involved in their initiation. Long-term consumption of high-fat diets induces insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes. Here, we have investigated early neural and endocrine events in the hypothalamus and hippocampus induced by a short-term high fat, low carbohydrate diet in adult male Wistar rats. The release of serotonin, which is closely associated with the actions of insulin and leptin, was measured, by electrochemical detection following reverse-phase liquid chromatography (HPLC), in the extracellular space of the medial hypothalamus and the dorsal hippocampus in samples obtained from non-anesthetized animals, by microdialysis. The high-fat diet had a specific effect on the hypothalamus. Serotonin release induced by food intake was reduced after 1 week, and effectively ceased after 6 weeks of the diet. After 1 week, there was an increased gene expression of the insulin receptor and the insulin receptor substrates IRS1 and IRS2, as measured by real-time PCR. After 6 weeks of diet, insulin gene expression increased. Leptinemia increased in all cases. This new data support the concept that high-fat diets, in addition to have peripheral effects, cause a rapid alteration in specific central mechanisms involved in energy and glucose homeostasis. The changes in the gene expression of insulin and signaling elements represent possible adaptations aimed at counterbalancing the reduced responsiveness of the serotonergic system to nutritional signals and maintaining homeostasis.
Juvenile obesity is a rising epidemic due largely to consumption of caloric dense, fat-enriched foods. Nevertheless, literature on fat-induced neuroendocrine and metabolic disturbances during adolescence, preceding obesity, is limited. This study aimed to examine early events induced by a fat diet (45% calories from saturated fat) in male rats fed the diet during the pre- and post-pubertal period. The neuroendocrine endpoints studied were the levels of circulating leptin, insulin and corticosterone, as well as their receptors in the hypothalamus and hippocampus. Hormonal levels were determined by radioimmunoassay and receptors levels by western blot analysis. Leptinemia was increased in pubertal rats and in adult rats fed the fat diet from weaning to adulthood, but not in those fed from puberty to adulthood. Modifications in the developmental pattern from puberty to adulthood were observed for most of the brain receptors studied. In adult animals fed the fat diet from weaning onwards, the levels of leptin receptors in the hypothalamus and glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampus were decreased compared to chow-fed controls. Switching from fat to normal chow at puberty onset restored the diet-induced alterations on circulating leptin, but not on its hypothalamic receptors. These data suggest that when a fat-enriched diet, resembling those consumed by many teenagers, provided in rats during pubertal growth, it can longitudinally influence the actions of leptin and corticosterone in the brain. The observed alterations at a preobese state may constitute early signs of the disturbed energy balance toward overweight and obesity.
The role of leptin receptors (Ob-Rs) within the hypothalamus in the control of energy expenditure has well been established. However, their role and regulation in other brain areas, including the cerebellum, is largely unexplored. In the present study we examined whether Ob-R levels in the rat cerebellum are influenced by a high-fat diet and if these changes are sexually divergent during adolescence.
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