Xenin-induced feeding suppression is not mediated through the activation of central extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in mice

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Abstract

Xenin is a gut hormone that reduces food intake by partly acting through the hypothalamus via neurotensin receptor 1 (Ntsr1). However, specific signaling pathways that mediate xenin-induced feeding suppression are not fully understood. Activation of Ntsr1 leads to the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Hypothalamic ERK participates in the regulation of food intake by mediating the effect of hormonal signals. Therefore, we hypothesized that the anorectic effect of xenin is mediated by hypothalamic ERK signaling. To address this hypothesis, we compared levels of phosphorylation of ERK1/2 (pERK1/2) in the hypothalamus of both control and xenin-treated mice. The effect of xenin on ERK1/2 phosphorylation was also examined in mouse hypothalamic neuronal cell lines with or without Ntsr1. We also examined the effect of the blockade of central ERK signaling on xenin-induced feeding suppression in mice. The intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of xenin caused a significant increase in the number of pERK1/2-immunoreactive cells in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. The majority of pERK1/2-positive cells expressed neuronal nuclei (NeuN), a marker for neurons. Xenin treatment increased pERK1/2 levels in one cell line expressing Ntsr1 but not another line without Ntsr1 expression. Both i.p. and intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of xenin reduced food intake in mice. The i.c.v. pre-treatment with U0126, a selective inhibitor of ERK1/2 upstream kinases, did not affect xenin-induced reduction in food intake. These findings suggest that although xenin activates ERK signaling in subpopulations of hypothalamic neurons, xenin does not require the activation of hypothalamic ERK signaling pathway to elicit feeding suppression.

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