The brain, in particular the hypothalamus, plays a role in regulating glucose homeostasis; however, it remains unclear whether this organ is causally and etiologically involved in the development of diabetes. Here, we found that hypothalamic transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) production is excessive under conditions of not only obesity but also aging, which are two general etiological factors of type 2 diabetes. Pharmacological and genetic approaches revealed that central TGF-β excess caused hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance independent of a change in body weight. Further, using cell-specific genetic analyses in vivo, we found that astrocytes and proopiomelanocortin neurons are responsible for the production and prodiabetic effect of central TGF-β, respectively. Mechanistically, TGF-β excess induced a hypothalamic RNA stress response, resulting in accelerated mRNA decay of IκBα, an inhibitor of proinflammatory nuclear factor-κB. These results reveal an atypical, mRNA metabolism-driven hypothalamic nuclear factor-κB activation, a mechanism that links obesity as well as aging to hypothalamic inflammation and ultimately to type 2 diabetes.