The CNS melanocortin (MC) system is implicated as a mediator of the central effects of leptin, and reduced activity of the CNS MC system promotes obesity in both rodents and humans. Because activation of CNS MC receptors has direct effects on autonomic outflow and metabolism, we hypothesized that food intake- independent mechanisms contribute to development of obesity induced by pharmacological blockade of MC receptors in the brain and that changes in hypothalamic neuropeptidergic systems known to regulate weight gain [i. e., corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), cocaine- amphetamine- related transcript (CART), proopiomelanocortin (POMC), and neuropeptide Y (NPY)] would trigger this effect. Relative to vehicle- treated controls, third intracerebroventricular (i3vt) administration of the MC receptor antagonist SHU9119 to rats for 11 d doubled food and water intake (toward the end of treatment) and increased body weight (similar to 14%) and fat content (similar to 90%), hepatic glycogen content (similar to 40%), and plasma levels of cholesterol (similar to 48%), insulin (similar to 259%), glucagon (similar to 80%), and leptin (similar to 490%), whereas spontaneous locomotor activity and body temperature were reduced. Pair- feeding of i3vt SHU9119- treated animals to i3vt vehicle- treated controls normalized plasma levels of insulin, glucagon, and hepatic glycogen content, but only partially reversed the elevations of plasma cholesterol (similar to 31%) and leptin (similar to 104%) and body fat content (similar to 27%). Reductions in body temperature and locomotor activity induced by i3vt SHU9119 were not reversed by pair feeding, but rather were more pronounced. None of the effects found can be explained by peripheral action of the compound. The obesity effects occurred despite a lack in neuropeptide expression responses in the neuroanatomical range selected across the arcuate (i. e., CART, POMC, and NPY) and paraventricular (i. e., CRH) hypothalamus. The results indicate that reduced activity of the CNS MC pathway promotes fat deposition via both food intake- dependent and -independent mechanisms.
2001. Vol. 21, no 10, 3639-3645 p.
obesity; SHU9119; NPY; CRH; POMC; CART; cholesterol; leptin; hypothalamus; body temperature