α/β-Hydrolase domain 6 (ABHD6) is a monoacylglycerol hydrolase that degrades the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Although complete or peripheral ABHD6 loss of function is protective against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, the role of ABHD6 in the central control of energy balance is unknown. Using a viral-mediated knockout approach, targeted endocannabinoid measures, and pharmacology, we discovered that mice lacking ABHD6 from neurons of the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMHKO) have higher VMH 2-AG levels in conditions of endocannabinoid recruitment and fail to physiologically adapt to key metabolic challenges. VMHKO mice exhibited blunted fasting-induced feeding and reduced food intake, energy expenditure, and adaptive thermogenesis in response to cold exposure, high-fat feeding, and dieting (transition to a low-fat diet). Our findings identify ABHD6 as a regulator of the counter-regulatory responses to major metabolic shifts, including fasting, nutrient excess, cold, and dieting, thereby highlighting the importance of ABHD6 in the VMH in mediating energy metabolism flexibility.
Keywords: 2-arachidonoylglycerol; cannabinoid receptor 1; endocannabinoids; energy homeostasis; obesity; thermogenesis; ventromedial hypothalamus; α/β-hydrolase-domain 6.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.