Glutamate release mediates leptin action on energy expenditure

Mol Metab. 2013 Jan 29;2(2):109-15. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2013.01.004. eCollection 2013.


Restricting energy expenditure is an adaptive response to food shortage. Despite being insulated with massive amount of fat tissues, leptin-deficient mice lose the ability to maintain their body temperature and develop deep hypothermia, which can be suppressed by exogenous leptin, suggesting an important role for leptin in energy expenditure regulation. However, the mechanism underlying the leptin action is not clear. We generated mice with disruption of glutamate release from leptin receptor-expressing neurons by deleting vesicular glutamate transporter 2 in these neurons, and found that these mice developed mild obesity purely due to reduced energy expenditure, exhibited bouts of rapidly reduced energy expenditure, body temperature and locomotion. In addition, these mice exhibited lower energy expenditure and body temperature in response to fasting and were defective in leptin-mediated thermogenic action in brown adipose tissues. Taken together, our results identify a role for glutamate release in mediating leptin action on energy expenditure.

Keywords: Energy expenditure; Glutamate; Hypothermia; Leptin; Obesity.