Background/aims: Apolipoprotein A-IV (apoA-IV) in the brain potently suppresses food intake. However, the mechanisms underlying its anorexigenic effects remain to be identified.
Methods: We first examined the effects of apoA-IV on cellular activities in hypothalamic neurons that co-express agouti-related peptide (AgRP) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) and in neurons that express pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC). We then compared anorexigenic effects of apoA-IV in wild-type mice and in mutant mice lacking melanocortin 4 receptors (MC4Rs; the receptors of AgRP and the POMC gene product). Finally, we examined expression of apoA-IV in mouse hypothalamus and quantified its protein levels at fed versus fasted states.
Results: We demonstrate that apoA-IV inhibited the firing rate of AgRP/NPY neurons. The decreased firing was associated with hyperpolarized membrane potential and decreased miniature excitatory postsynaptic current. We further used c-fos immunoreactivity to show that intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of apoA-IV abolished the fasting-induced activation of AgRP/NPY neurons in mice. Further, we found that apoA-IV depolarized POMC neurons and increased their firing rate. In addition, genetic deletion of MC4Rs blocked anorexigenic effects of i.c.v. apoA-IV. Finally, we detected endogenous apoA-IV in multiple neural populations in the mouse hypothalamus, including AgRP/NPY neurons, and food deprivation suppressed hypothalamic apoA-IV protein levels.
Conclusion: Our findings support a model where central apoA-IV inhibits AgRP/NPY neurons and activates POMC neurons to activate MC4Rs, which in turn suppresses food intake.
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.