Hypothalamic astrocytes in obesity

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2013 Mar;42(1):57-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2012.11.003. Epub 2012 Dec 12.


Obesity is characterized by a chronic and low-grade inflammation in tissues including the hypothalamus. Hypothalamic inflammation is considered an early and determining factor for the onset of obesity, a factor that occurs even before body weight gain. Within the hypothalamus, microglia and astrocytes produce cytokines that drive inflammatory responses. Astrocytes are directly affected by nutrient excess and might play a unique role in promoting hypothalamic inflammatory responses in obesity. This article reviews evidence supporting the role of hypothalamic astrocytes in obesity, and suggests a new approach for neuroendocrine research designed to reveal pathogenesis and develop novel treatment strategies against obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / pathology*
  • Obesity / pathology*