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Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Physiology and BiophysicsEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The CNS effects of leptin on glucose homeostasis appear to be mediated by leptin-induced stimulation of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons that release a-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) which, in turn, activates melanocortin 4 receptors (MC4R). We showed that pharmacological antagonism or genetic disruption of MC4R completely abolished the chronic antidiabetic effects of leptin. Recent observations also indicate that MC4R activation in different areas of the brain exerts divergent control of appetite and energy expenditure. Thus, we hypothesize that depending on its specific sites of CNS action the leptin-MC4R axis may also exhibit divergent control of its antidiabetic effects.
Although we showed that chronic blockade of adrenergic receptors (α1, β1, β2, and β3) did not impair the CNS antidiabetic action of leptin, it is possible that increased parasympathetic activity (PSA) to the liver may reduce gluconeogenesis and contribute to leptin's ability to restore euglycemia in diabetic animals. Another exciting possibility supported by new preliminary data is that activation of the leptin-MC4R pathway may enhance glucose uptake in peripheral tissues via a non-autonomic mechanism.
Based on our previous studies and compelling preliminary data, our central hypothesis (Figure 1) is that the powerful antidiabetic actions of leptin require activation of MC4R in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) leading to long-term increases in glucose utilization in peripheral tissues while MC4R activation in the brainstem (principally in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) and nucleus of the tractus solitarius (NTS)) increases PSA to the liver leading to reduced gluconeogenesis and sympathetic activity to peripheral tissues leading to acute enhancement of glucose uptake.
The specific aims of this proposal are:
1) MC4R activation in the PVN contributes to the chronic CNS-mediated antidiabetic actions of leptin mainly through stimulation of glucose utilization in peripheral tissues by a mechanism that is independent of the autonomic nervous system.
2) MC4R activation in the DMV/NTS contributes to the CNS-mediated antidiabetic actions of leptin mainly by suppressing liver gluconeogenesis and by short-term stimulation of glucose uptake in peripheral tissues via the autonomic nervous system.
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