Activation of murine pre-proglucagon–producing neurons reduces food intake and body weight

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Abstract

Peptides derived from pre-proglucagon (GCG peptides) act in both the periphery and the CNS to change food intake, glucose homeostasis, and metabolic rate while playing a role in anxiety behaviors and physiological responses to stress. Although the actions of GCG peptides produced in the gut and pancreas are well described, the role of glutamatergic GGC peptide–secreting hindbrain neurons in regulating metabolic homeostasis has not been investigated. Here, we have shown that chemogenetic stimulation of GCG-producing neurons reduces metabolic rate and food intake in fed and fasted states and suppresses glucose production without an effect on glucose uptake. Stimulation of GCG neurons had no effect on corticosterone secretion, body weight, or conditioned taste aversion. In the diet-induced obese state, the effects of GCG neuronal stimulation on gluconeogenesis were lost, while the food intake–lowering effects remained, resulting in reductions in body weight and adiposity. Our work suggests that GCG peptide–expressing neurons can alter feeding, metabolic rate, and glucose production independent of their effects on hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation, aversive conditioning, or insulin secretion. We conclude that GCG neurons likely stimulate separate populations of downstream cells to produce a change in food intake and glucose homeostasis and that these effects depend on the metabolic state of the animal.

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