Gene-targeted deletion of the voltage-gated potassium channel, Kv1.3 (Kv1.3-/-), increases olfactory sensitivity and discriminatory ability, and causes resistance to diet-induced obesity (DIO) in mice. The present study aimed to determine whether the enhanced olfactory ability of the Kv1.3-/- mouse contributes to the resistance to DIO. Kv1.3+/+ and Kv1.3-/- mice were subject to bilateral olfactory bulbectomy (OBX) or sham surgery at 9 weeks of age and placed on either a control chow diet or a 32% moderately high-fat diet (MHF). Caloric and water intake, locomotor activity and oxygen consumption were monitored after 5 weeks of diet treatment. At the end of 26 weeks of diet treatment, fat pad weight and blood chemistry were evaluated. Kv1.3+/+ mice exhibited a significant increase in weight, adiposity, fasting glucose and fasting leptin in response to the MHF-diet, with or without OBX. When treated with a MHF-diet, Kv1.3-/- mice gained significantly less weight than Kv1.3+/+ mice and exhibited a significant increase in light phase metabolism. OBX of Kv1.3-/- mice prevented the resistance to DIO and concomitant up-regulation of light phase metabolism at the same time as decreasing dark phase metabolism and total energy expenditure. These findings suggest that pathways activated in Kv1.3-/- that increased energy expenditure and led to resistance to DIO are olfactory bulb dependent. Thus, these findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the olfactory system can modulate the pathways involved in the regulation of energy balance.
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Neuroendocrinology © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.