Ventromedial hypothalamus-specific Ptpn1 deletion exacerbates diet-induced obesity in female mice

J Clin Invest. 2014 Sep;124(9):3781-92. doi: 10.1172/JCI68585. Epub 2014 Aug 1.


Protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) regulates food intake (FI) and energy expenditure (EE) by inhibiting leptin signaling in the hypothalamus. In peripheral tissues, PTP1B regulates insulin signaling, but its effects on CNS insulin action are largely unknown. Mice harboring a whole-brain deletion of the gene encoding PTP1B (Ptpn1) are lean, leptin-hypersensitive, and resistant to high fat diet-induced (HFD-induced) obesity. Arcuate proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neuron-specific deletion of Ptpn1 causes a similar, but much milder, phenotype, suggesting that PTP1B also acts in other neurons to regulate metabolism. Steroidogenic factor-1-expressing (SF-1-expressing) neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) play an important role in regulating body weight, FI, and EE. Surprisingly, Ptpn1 deletion in SF-1 neurons caused an age-dependent increase in adiposity in HFD-fed female mice. Although leptin sensitivity was increased and FI was reduced in these mice, they had impaired sympathetic output and decreased EE. Immunohistochemical analysis showed enhanced leptin and insulin signaling in VMH neurons from mice lacking PTP1B in SF-1 neurons. Thus, in the VMH, leptin negatively regulates FI, promoting weight loss, whereas insulin suppresses EE, leading to weight gain. Our results establish a novel role for PTP1B in regulating insulin action in the VMH and suggest that increased insulin responsiveness in SF-1 neurons can overcome leptin hypersensitivity and enhance adiposity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Mice
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1 / physiology*
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1 / physiology
  • Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology*


  • Estrogens
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1
  • Ptpn1 protein, mouse