Central insulin action activates hepatic IL-6/STAT3 signaling, which suppresses the gene expression of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes. The vagus nerve plays an important role in this centrally mediated hepatic response; however, the precise mechanism underlying this brain-liver interaction is unclear. Here, we present our findings that the vagus nerve suppresses hepatic IL-6/STAT3 signaling via α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7-nAchR) on Kupffer cells, and that central insulin action activates hepatic IL-6/STAT3 signaling by suppressing vagal activity. Indeed, central insulin-mediated hepatic IL-6/STAT3 activation and gluconeogenic gene suppression were impeded in mice with hepatic vagotomy, pharmacological cholinergic blockade, or α7-nAchR deficiency. In high-fat diet-induced obese and insulin-resistant mice, control of the vagus nerve by central insulin action was disturbed, inducing a persistent increase of inflammatory cytokines. These findings suggest that dysregulation of the α7-nAchR-mediated control of Kupffer cells by central insulin action may affect the pathogenesis of chronic hepatic inflammation in obesity.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.