Genomes and Genes
Integration of Peripheral and Central Appetite Signals by Brainstem Neurons
Principal Investigator: Suzanne M Appleyard
Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Obesity is a major health problem in the United States and is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and stroke. One of the less well understood areas of obesity research are the mechanisms by which neurons respond to, integrate and pass on central and peripheral signals about energy state and how these signaling pathways are altered in obesity. Our long-range goal is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) of the brainstem control body- weight and how these mechanisms are altered in obesity. Visceral afferents, including gastric afferents, carrying information about satiety terminate in the NTS. As such, NTS neurons act as gates, determining what information contained in afferents is passed onto other brain regions. Ablation of NTS neurons expressing catecholamines (NTS-CA neurons) disrupts control of food intake by several hormones, including ghrelin and cholecystokinin (CCK). The overall objective of this proposal is to identify the mechanisms by which NTS-CA neurons respond to appetite-regulating inputs under normal and obese conditions. Our central hypothesis is that the output of NTS-CA neurons is an integration of afferent and hormonal inputs and that it is altered by different energy states, such as fasting or obesity. We will test this hypothesis with the following three specific aims. (1) Determine how afferent inputs regulate NTS-CA neurons. Our working hypothesis for this aim is that the firing rate of NTS-CA neurons is controlled by visceral afferents, including gastric afferents, both through direct and indirect inputs. (2) Identify mechanism(s) by which key hormonal appetite modulators regulate NTS- CA neurons. Our working hypothesis for this aim is that CCK, which inhibits food intake and ghrelin, which stimulates food intake, regulate the output of NTS-CA neurons. (3) Determine how NTS-CA neurons adapt to different energy states. Our working hypothesis for this aim is that NTS-CA neurons adapt to prolonged exposure to hormones or conditions of altered energy states. We are well prepared to undertake the proposed research because we have developed a mouse horizontal brain slice that allows us to selectively stimulate visceral afferents while recording from identified NTS-CA neurons using electrophysiological patch clamp techniques. This is an extremely powerful system to address the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which NTS-CA neurons integrate neuronal and hormonal responses and how these mechanisms are altered in obesity. In addition, we will use labeling techniques to specifically identify NTS-CA neurons receiving gastric afferent inputs, pharmacology to dissect out molecular signaling pathways and behavioral paradigms to examine how these pathways/mechanisms are altered in different energy states. The contribution of this work is expected to be significant, because increasing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying appetite control and how these mechanisms are altered in different energy states, will lead to more precisely targeted approaches for the prevention treatment of obesity.
Funding Period: 2009-04-15 - 2014-03-31
more information: NIH RePORT
- Ghrelin inhibits visceral afferent activation of catecholamine neurons in the solitary tract nucleusRan Ji Cui
Program in Neuroscience, Department of Veterinary Comparative Anatomy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA
J Neurosci 31:3484-92. 2011..These results demonstrate a potential mechanism by which ghrelin inhibits NTS TH neurons through a pathway whose responsiveness is increased during fasting...
- Opioids inhibit visceral afferent activation of catecholamine neurons in the solitary tract nucleusR J Cui
Department of Veterinary Comparative Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
Neuroscience 222:181-90. 2012....
- Serotonin activates catecholamine neurons in the solitary tract nucleus by increasing spontaneous glutamate inputsRan Ji Cui
Program in Neuroscience, Department of Veterinary Comparative Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA
J Neurosci 32:16530-8. 2012....
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