The central nervous system (CNS) uses glucose independent of insulin. Nonetheless, insulin receptors and insulin-responsive glucose transporters (Glut4) often colocalize in neurons (Glut4 neurons) in anatomically and functionally distinct areas of the CNS. The apparent heterogeneity of Glut4 neurons has thus far thwarted attempts to understand their function. To answer this question, we used Cre-dependent, diphtheria toxin-mediated cell ablation to selectively remove basal hypothalamic Glut4 neurons and investigate the resulting phenotypes. After Glut4 neuron ablation, mice demonstrate altered hormone and nutrient signaling in the CNS. Accordingly, they exhibit negative energy balance phenotype characterized by reduced food intake and increased energy expenditure, without locomotor deficits or gross neuronal abnormalities. Glut4 neuron ablation affects orexigenic melanin-concentrating hormone neurons but has limited effect on neuropeptide Y/agoutirelated protein and proopiomelanocortin neurons. The food intake phenotype can be partially normalized by GABA administration, suggesting that it arises from defective GABAergic transmission. Glut4 neuron-ablated mice show peripheral metabolic defects, including fasting hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance, decreased insulin levels, and elevated hepatic gluconeogenic genes. We conclude that Glut4 neurons integrate hormonal and nutritional cues and mediate CNS actions of insulin on energy balance and peripheral metabolism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism