The ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) plays a critical role in regulating systemic glucose homeostasis. How neurons in this brain area adapt to the changing metabolic environment to regulate circulating glucose levels is ill defined. Here, we show that glucose load results in mitochondrial fission and reduced reactive oxygen species in VMH neurons mediated by dynamin-related peptide 1 (DRP1) under the control of uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2). Probed by genetic manipulations and chemical-genetic control of VMH neuronal circuitry, we unmasked that this mitochondrial adaptation determines the size of the pool of glucose-excited neurons in the VMH and that this process regulates systemic glucose homeostasis. Thus, our data unmasked a critical cellular biological process controlled by mitochondrial dynamics in VMH regulation of systemic glucose homeostasis.
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