Oestradiol and diet modulate energy homeostasis and hypothalamic neurogenesis in the adult female mouse

J Neuroendocrinol. 2014 Nov;26(11):805-16. doi: 10.1111/jne.12206.


Leptin and oestradiol have overlapping functions in energy homeostasis and fertility, and receptors for these hormones are localised in the same hypothalamic regions. Although, historically, it was assumed that mammalian adult neurogenesis was confined to the olfactory bulbs and the hippocampus, recent research has found new neurones in the male rodent hypothalamus. Furthermore, some of these new neurones are leptin-sensitive and affected by diet. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that diet and hormonal status modulate hypothalamic neurogenesis in the adult female mouse. Adult mice were ovariectomised and implanted with capsules containing oestradiol (E2 ) or oil. Within each group, mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) or maintained on standard chow (STND). All animals were administered i.c.v. 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) for 9 days and sacrificed 34 days later after an injection of leptin to induce phosphorylation of signal transducer of activation and transcription 3 (pSTAT3). Brain tissue was immunohistochemically labelled for BrdU (newly born cells), Hu (neuronal marker) and pSTAT3 (leptin sensitive). Although mice on a HFD became obese, oestradiol protected against obesity. There was a strong interaction between diet and hormone on new cells (BrdU+) in the arcuate, ventromedial hypothalamus and dorsomedial hypothalamus. HFD increased the number of new cells, whereas E2 inhibited this effect. Conversely, E2 increased the number of new cells in mice on a STND diet in all hypothalamic regions studied. Although the total number of new leptin-sensitive neurones (BrdU-Hu-pSTAT3) found in the hypothalamus was low, HFD increased these new cells in the arcuate, whereas E2 attenuated this induction. These results suggest that adult neurogenesis in the hypothalamic neurogenic niche is modulated by diet and hormonal status and is related to energy homeostasis in female mice.

Keywords: leptin; obesity; oestrogen; pSTAT3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Leptin / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Neurogenesis / drug effects
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation


  • Leptin
  • Estradiol