Tanycytes control hypothalamic liraglutide uptake and its anti-obesity actions

Cell Metab. 2022 Jul 5;34(7):1054-1063.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2022.06.002. Epub 2022 Jun 17.


Liraglutide, an anti-diabetic drug and agonist of the glucagon-like peptide one receptor (GLP1R), has recently been approved to treat obesity in individuals with or without type 2 diabetes. Despite its extensive metabolic benefits, the mechanism and site of action of liraglutide remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that liraglutide is shuttled to target cells in the mouse hypothalamus by specialized ependymoglial cells called tanycytes, bypassing the blood-brain barrier. Selectively silencing GLP1R in tanycytes or inhibiting tanycytic transcytosis by botulinum neurotoxin expression not only hampers liraglutide transport into the brain and its activation of target hypothalamic neurons, but also blocks its anti-obesity effects on food intake, body weight and fat mass, and fatty acid oxidation. Collectively, these striking data indicate that the liraglutide-induced activation of hypothalamic neurons and its downstream metabolic effects are mediated by its tanycytic transport into the mediobasal hypothalamus, strengthening the notion of tanycytes as key regulators of metabolic homeostasis.

Keywords: AAV; GLP1 analog; GLP1R agonist; arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus; botulinum toxin; brain; fatty acid oxidation; median eminence; tanycyte; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / metabolism
  • Ependymoglial Cells
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Liraglutide* / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Liraglutide