Topiramate treatment improves hypothalamic insulin and leptin signaling and action and reduces obesity in mice

Endocrinology. 2012 Sep;153(9):4401-11. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1272. Epub 2012 Jul 20.


Topiramate (TPM) treatment has been shown to reduce adiposity in humans and rodents. The reduction in adiposity is related to decreased food intake and increased energy expenditure. However, the molecular mechanisms through which TPM induces weight loss are contradictory and remain to be clarified. Whether TPM treatment alters hypothalamic insulin, or leptin signaling and action, is not well established. Thus, we investigate herein whether short-term TPM treatment alters energy balance by affecting insulin and leptin signaling, action, or neuropeptide expression in the hypothalamus of mice fed with a high-fat diet. As expected, short-term treatment with TPM diminished adiposity in obese mice mainly due to reduced food intake. TPM increased anorexigenic signaling by enhancing the leptin-induced leptin receptor/Janus kinase 2/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 pathway and the insulin-induced insulin receptor substrate/Akt/forkhead box O1 pathway in parallel to reduced phosphatase protein expression in the hypothalamus of obese mice. These effects were independent of body weight. TPM also raised anorexigenic neuropeptides such as POMC, TRH, and CRH mRNA levels in obese mice. In addition, TPM increased the activation of the hypothalamic MAPK/ERK pathway induced by leptin, accompanied by an increase in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-coactivator α and uncoupling protein 1 protein levels in brown adipose tissue. Furthermore, TPM increased AMP-activated protein kinase and acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase phosphorylation in peripheral tissues, which may help improve energy metabolism in these tissues. Together, these results provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms through which TPM treatment reduces adiposity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Leptin / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Topiramate


  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Topiramate
  • Fructose