Publications by authors named "Shane T Hentges"

31 Publications

β-endorphin differentially contributes to food anticipatory activity in male and female mice undergoing activity-based anorexia.

Physiol Rep 2021 Mar;9(5):e14788

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Anorexia nervosa (AN) has a lifetime prevalence of up to 4% and a high mortality rate (~5-10%), yet little is known regarding the etiology of this disease. In an attempt to fill the gaps in knowledge, activity-based anorexia (ABA) in rodents has been a widely used model as it mimics several key features of AN including severely restricted food intake and excessive exercise. Using this model, a role for the hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) system has been implicated in the development of ABA as Pomc mRNA is elevated in female rats undergoing the ABA paradigm. Since the Pomc gene product α-MSH potently inhibits food intake, it could be that elevated α-MSH might promote ABA. However, the α-MSH receptor antagonist SHU9119 does not protect against the development of ABA. Interestingly, it has also been shown that female mice lacking the mu opioid receptor (MOR), the primary receptor activated by the Pomc-gene-derived opioid β-endorphin, display blunted food anticipatory behavior (FAA), a key feature of ABA. Thus, we hypothesized that the elevation in Pomc mRNA observed during ABA may lead to increased β-endorphin concentrations and MOR activation to promote ABA. Further, given the known sex differences in AN and ABA, we hypothesized that MORs may contribute differentially in male and female mice. Using wild-type and MOR knockout mice of both sexes, a MOR antagonist and careful analysis of food anticipatory behavior and β-endorphin levels, we found 1) increased Pomc mRNA levels in both female and male mice that underwent ABA, 2) increased β-endorphin in female mice that underwent ABA, and 3) blunted FAA in both sexes in response to MOR genetic deletion yet blunted FAA only in males in response to MOR antagonism. The results presented provide support for both hypotheses and suggest that it may be the β-endorphin resulting from increased Pomc transcription that supports the development of some features of ABA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14788DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7931805PMC
March 2021

Energy state alters regulation of proopiomelanocortin neurons by glutamatergic ventromedial hypothalamus neurons: pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms.

J Neurophysiol 2021 03 13;125(3):720-730. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

To maintain metabolic homeostasis, motivated behaviors are driven by neuronal circuits that process information encoding the animal's energy state. Such circuits likely include ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) glutamatergic neurons that project throughout the brain to drive food intake and energy expenditure. Targets of VMH glutamatergic neurons include proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the arcuate nucleus that, when activated, inhibit food intake. Although an energy-state-sensitive, glutamate circuit between the VMH and POMC neurons has been previously indicated, the significance and details of this circuit have not been fully elucidated. Thus, the goal of the present work was to add to the understanding of this circuit. Using a knockout strategy, the data show that the VMH glutamate→POMC neuron circuit is important for the inhibition of food intake. Conditional deletion of the vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT2) in the VMH results in increased bodyweight and increased food intake following a fast in both male and female mice. Additionally, the targeted blunting of glutamate release from the VMH resulted in an ∼32% reduction in excitatory inputs to POMC cells, suggesting that this circuit may respond to changes in energy state to affect POMC activity. Indeed, we found that glutamate release is increased at VMH-to-POMC synapses during feeding and POMC AMPA receptors switch from a calcium-permeable state to a calcium-impermeable state during fasting. Collectively, these data indicate that there is an energy-balance-sensitive VMH-to-POMC circuit conveying excitatory neuromodulation onto POMC cells at both pre- and postsynaptic levels, which may contribute to maintaining appropriate food intake and body mass. Despite decades of research, the neurocircuitry underlying metabolic homeostasis remains incompletely understood. Specifically, the roles of amino acid transmitters, particularly glutamate, have received less attention than hormonal signals. Here, we characterize an energy-state-sensitive glutamate circuit from the ventromedial hypothalamus to anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons that responds to changes in energy state at both sides of the synapse, providing novel information about how variations in metabolic state affect excitatory drive onto POMC cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00359.2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7988752PMC
March 2021

Disruption of GABA or glutamate release from POMC neurons in the adult mouse does not affect metabolic end points.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2020 11 16;319(5):R592-R601. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons contribute to the regulation of many physiological processes; the majority of which have been attributed to the release of peptides produced from the POMC prohormone such as α-MSH, which plays key roles in food intake and metabolism. However, it is now clear that POMC neurons also release amino acid transmitters that likely contribute to the overall function of POMC cells. Recent work indicates that constitutive deletion of these transmitters can affect metabolic phenotypes, but also that the expression of GABAergic or glutamatergic markers changes throughout development. The goal of the present study was to determine whether the release of glutamate or GABA from POMC neurons in the adult mouse contributes notably to energy balance regulation. Disturbed release of glutamate or GABA specifically from POMC neurons in adult mice was achieved using a tamoxifen-inducible construct ( expressed in mice also carrying floxed versions of or and , encoding the vesicular glutamate transporter type 2 and GAD67 and GAD65 proteins, respectively. All mice in the experiments received tamoxifen injections, but control mice lacked the tamoxifen-inducible Cre sequence. Body weight was unchanged in and - or -deleted female and male mice. Additionally, no significant differences in glucose tolerance or refeeding after an overnight fast were observed. These data collectively suggest that the release of GABA or glutamate from POMC neurons in adult mice does not significantly contribute to the metabolic parameters tested here. In light of prior work, the data also suggest that amino acid transmitter release from POMC cells may contribute to separate functions in the adult versus the developing mouse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00180.2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7789961PMC
November 2020

GABAergic Inputs to POMC Neurons Originating from the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus Are Regulated by Energy State.

J Neurosci 2019 08 24;39(33):6449-6459. Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523

Neuronal circuits regulating hunger and satiety synthesize information encoding the energy state of the animal and translate those signals into motivated behaviors to meet homeostatic needs. Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus are activated by energy surfeits and inhibited by energy deficits. When activated, these cells inhibit food intake and facilitate weight loss. Conversely, decreased activity in POMC cells is associated with increased food intake and obesity. Circulating nutrients and hormones modulate the activity of POMC neurons over protracted periods of time. However, recent work indicates that calcium activity in POMC cells changes in response to food cues on times scales consistent with the rapid actions of amino acid transmitters. Indeed, the frequency of spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) onto POMC neurons increases during caloric deficits. However, the afferent brain regions responsible for this inhibitory modulation are currently unknown. Here, through the use of brain region-specific deletion of GABA release in both male and female mice we show that neurons in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) are responsible for the majority of sIPSCs in POMC neurons as well as the fasting-induced increase in sIPSC frequency. Further, the readily releasable pool of GABA vesicles and the release probability of GABA is increased at DMH-to-POMC synapses following an overnight fast. Collectively these data provide evidence that DMH-to-POMC GABA circuitry conveys inhibitory neuromodulation onto POMC cells that is sensitive to the animal's energy state. Activation of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) cells signals satiety, whereas GABAergic cells in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) can increase food consumption. However, communication between these cells, particularly in response to changes in metabolic state, is unknown. Here, through targeted inhibition of DMH GABA release, we show that DMH neurons contribute a significant portion of spontaneously released GABA onto POMC cells and are responsible for increased GABAergic inhibition of POMC cells during fasting, likely mediated through increased release probability of GABA at DMH terminals. These data provide important information about inhibitory modulation of metabolic circuitry and provide a mechanism through which POMC neurons could be inhibited, or disinhibited, rapidly in response to food availability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3193-18.2019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6697391PMC
August 2019

Temporal dependence of shifts in mu opioid receptor mobility at the cell surface after agonist binding observed by single-particle tracking.

Sci Rep 2019 05 13;9(1):7297. Epub 2019 May 13.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Agonist binding to the mu opioid receptor (MOR) results in conformational changes that allow recruitment of G-proteins, activation of downstream effectors and eventual desensitization and internalization, all of which could affect receptor mobility. The present study employed single particle tracking (SPT) of quantum dot labeled FLAG-tagged MORs to examine shifts in MOR mobility after agonist binding. FLAG-MORs on the plasma membrane were in both mobile and immobile states under basal conditions. Activation of FLAG-MORs with DAMGO caused an acute increase in the fraction of mobile MORs, and free portions of mobile tracks were partially dependent on interactions with G-proteins. In contrast, 10-minute exposure to DAMGO or morphine increased the fraction of immobile FLAG-MORs. While the decrease in mobility with prolonged DAMGO exposure corresponded to an increase in colocalization with clathrin, the increase in colocalization was present in both mobile and immobile FLAG-MORs. Thus, no single mobility state of the receptor accounted for colocalization with clathrin. These findings demonstrate that SPT can be used to track agonist-dependent changes in MOR mobility over time, but that the mobility states observed likely arise from a diverse set of interactions and will be most informative when examined in concert with particular downstream effectors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43657-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6514008PMC
May 2019

Various transgenic mouse lines to study proopiomelanocortin cells in the brain stem label disparate populations of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2018 07 28;315(1):R144-R152. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University , Fort Collins, Colorado.

Products of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) prohormone regulate aspects of analgesia, reward, and energy balance; thus, the neurons that produce POMC in the hypothalamus have received considerable attention. However, there are also cells in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) that transcribe Pomc, although low levels of Pomc mRNA and relative lack of POMC peptide products in the adult mouse NTS have hindered the study of these cells. Therefore, studies of NTS POMC cells have largely relied on transgenic mouse lines. Here, we set out to determine the amino acid (AA) transmitter phenotype of NTS POMC neurons by using Pomc-Gfp transgenic mice to identify POMC cells. We found that cells expressing the green fluorescent protein (GFP) represent a mix of GABAergic and glutamatergic cells as indicated by Gad2 and vesicular Glut2 ( vGlut2) mRNA expression, respectively. We then examined the AA phenotype of POMC cells labeled by a Pomc-Cre transgene and found that these are also a mix of GABAergic and glutamatergic cells. However, the NTS cells labeled by the Gfp- and Cre-containing transgenes represented distinct populations of cells in three different Pomc-Cre mouse lines. Consistent with previous work, we were unable to reliably detect Pomc mRNA in the NTS despite clear expression in the hypothalamus. Thus, it was not possible to determine which transgenic tool most accurately identifies NTS cells that may express Pomc or release POMC peptides, although the results indicate the transgenic tools for study of these NTS neurons can label disparate populations of cells with varied AA phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00047.2018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6087889PMC
July 2018

Differential Desensitization Observed at Multiple Effectors of Somatic μ-Opioid Receptors Underlies Sustained Agonist-Mediated Inhibition of Proopiomelanocortin Neuron Activity.

J Neurosci 2017 09 7;37(36):8667-8677. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523

Activation of somatic μ-opioid receptors (MORs) in hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons leads to the activation of G-protein-coupled inward rectifier potassium (GIRK) channels and hyperpolarization, but in response to continued signaling MORs undergo acute desensitization resulting in robust reduction in the peak GIRK current after minutes of agonist exposure. We hypothesized that the attenuation of the GIRK current would lead to a recovery of neuronal excitability whereby desensitization of the receptor would lead to a new steady state of POMC neuron activity reflecting the sustained GIRK current observed after the initial decline from peak with continued agonist exposure. However, electrophysiologic recordings and GCaMP6f Ca imaging in POMC neurons in mouse brain slices indicate that maximal inhibition of cellular activity by these measures can be maintained after the GIRK current declines. Blockade of the GIRK current by Ba or Tertiapin-Q did not disrupt the sustained inhibition of Ca transients in the continued presence of agonist, indicating the activation of an effector other than GIRK channels. Use of an irreversible MOR antagonist and Furchgott analysis revealed a low receptor reserve for the activation of GIRK channels but a >90% receptor reserve for the inhibition of Ca events. Altogether, the data show that somatodendritic MORs in POMC neurons inhibit neuronal activity through at least two effectors with distinct levels of receptor reserve and that differentially reflect receptor desensitization. Thus, in POMC cells, the decline in the GIRK current during prolonged MOR agonist exposure does not reflect an increase in cellular activity as expected. Desensitization of the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) is thought to underlie the development of cellular tolerance to opiate therapy. The present studies focused on MOR desensitization in hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons as these neurons produce the endogenous opioid β-endorphin and are heavily regulated by opioids. Prolonged activation of somatic MORs in POMC neurons robustly inhibited action potential firing and Ca activity despite desensitization of the MOR and reduced activation of a potassium current over the same time course. The data show that somatic MORs in POMC neurons couple to multiple effectors that have differential sensitivity to desensitization of the receptor. Thus, in these cells, the cellular consequence of MOR desensitization cannot be defined by the activity of a single effector system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1030-17.2017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5588460PMC
September 2017

The Relevance of AgRP Neuron-Derived GABA Inputs to POMC Neurons Differs for Spontaneous and Evoked Release.

J Neurosci 2017 08 30;37(31):7362-7372. Epub 2017 Jun 30.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523

Hypothalamic agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons potently stimulate food intake, whereas proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons inhibit feeding. Whether AgRP neurons exert their orexigenic actions, at least in part, by inhibiting anorexigenic POMC neurons remains unclear. Here, the connectivity between GABA-releasing AgRP neurons and POMC neurons was examined in brain slices from male and female mice. GABA-mediated spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) in POMC neurons were unaffected by disturbing GABA release from AgRP neurons either by cell type-specific deletion of the vesicular GABA transporter or by expression of botulinum toxin in AgRP neurons to prevent vesicle-associated membrane protein 2-dependent vesicle fusion. Additionally, there was no difference in the ability of μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists to inhibit sIPSCs in POMC neurons when MORs were deleted from AgRP neurons, and activation of the inhibitory designer receptor hM4Di on AgRP neurons did not affect sIPSCs recorded from POMC neurons. These approaches collectively indicate that AgRP neurons do not significantly contribute to the strong spontaneous GABA input to POMC neurons. Despite these observations, optogenetic stimulation of AgRP neurons reliably produced evoked IPSCs in POMC neurons, leading to the inhibition of POMC neuron firing. Thus, AgRP neurons can potently affect POMC neuron function without contributing a significant source of spontaneous GABA input to POMC neurons. Together, these results indicate that the relevance of GABAergic inputs from AgRP to POMC neurons is state dependent and highlight the need to consider different types of transmitter release in circuit mapping and physiologic regulation. Agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons play an important role in driving food intake, while proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons inhibit feeding. Despite the importance of these two well characterized neuron types in maintaining metabolic homeostasis, communication between these cells remains poorly understood. To provide clarity to this circuit, we made electrophysiological recordings from mouse brain slices and found that AgRP neurons do not contribute spontaneously released GABA onto POMC neurons, although when activated with channelrhodopsin AgRP neurons inhibit POMC neurons through GABA-mediated transmission. These findings indicate that the relevance of AgRP to POMC neuron GABA connectivity depends on the state of AgRP neuron activity and suggest that different types of transmitter release should be considered when circuit mapping.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0647-17.2017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546108PMC
August 2017

Caloric restriction selectively reduces the GABAergic phenotype of mouse hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons.

J Physiol 2017 01 2;595(2):571-582. Epub 2016 Oct 2.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80253, USA.

Key Points: Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons release peptide products that potently inhibit food intake and reduce body weight. These neurons also release the amino acid transmitter GABA, which can inhibit downstream neurons. Although the release of peptide transmitters from POMC neurons is regulated by energy state, whether similar regulation of GABA release might occur had not been examined. The present results show that the GABAergic phenotype of POMC neurons is decreased selectively by caloric deficit and not altered by high-fat diet or stress. The fact the GABAergic phenotype of POMC neurons is sensitive to energy state suggests a dynamic physiological role for this transmitter and highlights the importance of determining the functional consequence of GABA released from POMC neurons in terms of the regulation of normal energy balance.

Abstract: In addition to peptide transmitters, hypothalamic neurons, including proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons, also release amino acid transmitters that can alter energy balance regulation. While recent studies show that the GABAergic nature of AgRP neurons is increased by caloric restriction, whether the GABAergic phenotype of POMC neurons is also regulated in an energy-state-dependent manner has not been previously examined. The present studies used fluorescence in situ hybridization to detect Gad1 and Gad2 mRNA in POMC neurons, as these encode the glutamate decarboxylase enzymes GAD67 and GAD65, respectively. The results show that both short-term fasting and chronic caloric restriction significantly reduce the percentage of POMC neurons expressing Gad1 mRNA in both male and female mice, with less of an effect on Gad2 expression. Neither acute nor chronic intermittent restraint stress altered Gad1 expression in POMC neurons. Maintenance on a high-fat diet also did not affect the portion POMC neurons expressing Gad1, suggesting that the GABAergic phenotype of POMC neurons is particularly sensitive to energy deficit. Because changes in Gad1 expression have been previously shown to correlate with altered terminal GABA release, fasting is likely to cause a decrease in GABA release from POMC neurons. Altogether, the present results show that the GABAergic nature of POMC neurons can be dynamically regulated by energy state in a manner opposite to that in AgRP neurons and suggest the importance of considering the functional role of GABA release in addition to the peptide transmitters from POMC neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP273020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5233667PMC
January 2017

Desensitization-resistant and -sensitive GPCR-mediated inhibition of GABA release occurs by Ca2+-dependent and -independent mechanisms at a hypothalamic synapse.

J Neurophysiol 2016 06 24;115(5):2376-88. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Whereas the activation of Gαi/o-coupled receptors commonly results in postsynaptic responses that show acute desensitization, the presynaptic inhibition of transmitter release caused by many Gαi/o-coupled receptors is maintained during agonist exposure. However, an exception has been noted where GABAB receptor (GABABR)-mediated inhibition of inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) recorded in mouse proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons exhibit acute desensitization in ∼25% of experiments. To determine whether differential effector coupling confers sensitivity to desensitization, voltage-clamp recordings were made from POMC neurons to compare the mechanism by which μ-opioid receptors (MORs) and GABABRs inhibit transmitter release. Neither MOR- nor GABABR-mediated inhibition of release relied on the activation of presynaptic K(+) channels. Both receptors maintained the ability to inhibit release in the absence of external Ca(2+) or in the presence of ionomycin-induced Ca(2+) influx, indicating that inhibition of release can occur through a Ca(2+)-independent mechanism. Replacing Ca(2+) with Sr(2+) to disrupt G-protein-mediated inhibition of release occurring directly at the release machinery did not alter MOR- or GABAB -mediated inhibition of IPSCs, suggesting that reductions in evoked release can occur through the inhibition of Ca(2+) channels. Additionally, both receptors inhibited evoked IPSCs in the presence of selective blockers of N- or P/Q-type Ca(2+) channels. Altogether, the results show that MORs and GABABRs can inhibit transmitter release through the inhibition of calcium influx and by direct actions at the release machinery. Furthermore, since both the desensitizing and nondesensitizing presynaptic receptors are similarly coupled, differential effector coupling is unlikely responsible for differential desensitization of the inhibition of release.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00535.2015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4922459PMC
June 2016

Gad1 mRNA as a reliable indicator of altered GABA release from orexigenic neurons in the hypothalamus.

Eur J Neurosci 2015 Nov 19;42(9):2644-53. Epub 2015 Oct 19.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, 1617 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA.

The strength of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-mediated inhibitory synaptic input is a principle determinant of neuronal activity. However, because of differences in the number of GABA afferent inputs and the sites of synapses, it is difficult to directly assay for altered GABA transmission between specific cells. The present study tested the hypothesis that the level of mRNA for the GABA synthetic enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) can provide a reliable proxy for GABA release. This was tested in a mouse hypothalamic circuit important in the regulation of energy balance. Fluorescent in situ hybridization results show that the expression of Gad1 mRNA (encoding the GAD67 enzyme) was increased in hypothalamic neuropeptide Y/agouti-related peptide (NPY/AgRP) neurons after an overnight fast, consistent with the ability of GABA from these neurons to stimulate food intake. Optogenetic studies confirmed that the observed increase in Gad1 mRNA correlated with an increase in the probability of GABA release from NPY/AgRP neurons onto downstream proopiomelanocortin neurons. Likewise, there was an increase in the readily releasable pool of GABA in NPY/AgRP neurons. Selective inhibition of GAD activity in NPY/AgRP neurons decreased GABA release, indicating that GAD67 activity, which is largely dictated by expression level, is a key determinant of GABA release. Altogether, it appears that Gad expression may be a reliable proxy of altered GABAergic transmission. Examining changes in Gad mRNA as a proxy for GABA release may be particularly helpful when the downstream targets are not known or when limited tools exist for detecting GABA release at a particular synapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13076DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4870936PMC
November 2015

Age-dependent changes in amino acid phenotype and the role of glutamate release from hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons.

J Comp Neurol 2016 Apr 28;524(6):1222-35. Epub 2015 Sep 28.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons are important regulators of energy balance. Recent studies indicate that in addition to their peptides, POMC neurons can release either the amino acid (AA) transmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or glutamate. A small subset of POMC neurons appears to have a dual AA phenotype based on coexpression of mRNA for the vesicular glutamate transporter (vGlut2) and the GABA synthetic enzyme Gad67. To determine whether the colocalization of GABAergic and glutamatergic markers may be indicative of a switch in AA transmitter phenotype, fluorescent in situ hybridization was used to detect vGlut2 and Gad mRNA in POMC neurons during early postnatal development. The percentage of POMC neurons expressing vGlut2 mRNA in POMC neurons progressively decreased from ∼40% at day 1 to less than 10% by 8 weeks of age, whereas Gad67 was only expressed in ∼10% of POMC neurons at day 1 and increased until ∼45% of POMC neurons coexpressed Gad67 at 8 weeks of age. To determine whether the expression of vGlut2 may play a role in energy balance regulation, genetic deletion of vGlut2 in POMC neurons was accomplished using Cre-lox technology. Male, but not female, mice lacking vGlut2 in POMC neurons were unable to maintain energy balance to the same extent as control mice when fed a high-fat diet. Altogether, the results indicate that POMC neurons are largely glutamatergic early in life and that the release of glutamate from these cells is involved in sex- and diet-specific regulation of energy balance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.23900DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4747788PMC
April 2016

Direct inhibition of hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons by dynorphin A is mediated by the μ-opioid receptor.

J Physiol 2014 Oct 1;592(19):4247-56. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

It has recently been shown that dynorphin A (Dyn A), an endogenous agonist of the κ-opioid receptor (KOR), directly inhibits proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the hypothalamus through activation of G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying K(+) channels (GIRKs). This effect has been proposed to be mediated by the putative κ2-opioid receptor (KOR-2), and has been suggested as a possible mechanism for the orexigenic actions of KOR agonists. Using whole-cell voltage clamp recordings in brain slice preparations, the present study demonstrates that Dyn A (1 or 5 μm) induces an outward current in POMC neurons that is reversed by the highly selective μ-opioid receptor (MOR) antagonist CTAP and is absent in mice lacking MORs. Additionally, the KOR-2-selective agonist GR89696 binds MORs on POMC neurons but fails to induce an outward current. Similar to Dyn A, the KOR-selective antagonist nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) lacked specificity when used at sufficiently high concentrations. Maximal concentrations of the MOR-selective agonist DAMGO induced outward currents in POMC neurons that were completely reversed by a relatively high concentration of nor-BNI. Experiments using a half-maximal concentration of DAMGO demonstrate that nor-BNI must be used at concentrations <100 nm to avoid non-specific actions of the antagonist at MORs located on POMC neurons. These data suggest that direct inhibition of POMC neurons by Dyn A is mediated through the MOR, not the KOR-2, which is consistent with previous studies demonstrating that Dyn A can act at the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) when present in high concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2014.275339DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215775PMC
October 2014

Separate GABA afferents to dopamine neurons mediate acute action of opioids, development of tolerance, and expression of withdrawal.

Neuron 2014 Jun 22;82(6):1346-56. Epub 2014 May 22.

Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA. Electronic address:

GABA release from interneurons in VTA, projections from the nucleus accumbens (NAc), and rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) was selectively activated in rat brain slices. The inhibition induced by μ-opioid agonists was pathway dependent. Morphine induced a 46% inhibition of IPSCs evoked from the RMTg, 18% from NAc, and IPSCs evoked from VTA interneurons were almost insensitive (11% inhibition). In vivo morphine treatment resulted in tolerance to the inhibition of RMTg, but not local interneurons or NAc, inputs. One common sign of opioid withdrawal is an increase in adenosine-dependent inhibition. IPSCs evoked from the NAc were potently inhibited by activation of presynaptic adenosine receptors, whereas IPSCs evoked from RMTg were not changed. Blockade of adenosine receptors selectively increased IPSCs evoked from the NAc during morphine withdrawal. Thus, the acute action of opioids, the development of tolerance, and the expression of withdrawal are mediated by separate GABA afferents to dopamine neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.04.030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4072256PMC
June 2014

Somato-dendritic localization and signaling by leptin receptors in hypothalamic POMC and AgRP neurons.

PLoS One 2013 29;8(10):e77622. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Leptin acts via neuronal leptin receptors to control energy balance. Hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP)/Neuropeptide Y (NPY)/GABA neurons produce anorexigenic and orexigenic neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, and express the long signaling form of the leptin receptor (LepRb). Despite progress in the understanding of LepRb signaling and function, the sub-cellular localization of LepRb in target neurons has not been determined, primarily due to lack of sensitive anti-LepRb antibodies. Here we applied light microscopy (LM), confocal-laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and electron microscopy (EM) to investigate LepRb localization and signaling in mice expressing a HA-tagged LepRb selectively in POMC or AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons. We report that LepRb receptors exhibit a somato-dendritic expression pattern. We further show that LepRb activates STAT3 phosphorylation in neuronal fibers within several hypothalamic and hindbrain nuclei of wild-type mice and rats, and specifically in dendrites of arcuate POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons of Leprb (+/+) mice and in Leprb (db/db) mice expressing HA-LepRb in a neuron specific manner. We did not find evidence of LepRb localization or STAT3-signaling in axon-fibers or nerve-terminals of POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons. Three-dimensional serial EM-reconstruction of dendritic segments from POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons indicates a high density of shaft synapses. In addition, we found that the leptin activates STAT3 signaling in proximity to synapses on POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA dendritic shafts. Taken together, these data suggest that the signaling-form of the leptin receptor exhibits a somato-dendritic expression pattern in POMC and AgRP/NPY/GABA neurons. Dendritic LepRb signaling may therefore play an important role in leptin's central effects on energy balance, possibly through modulation of synaptic activity via post-synaptic mechanisms.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0077622PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3812230PMC
August 2014

Unraveling the central proopiomelanocortin neural circuits.

Front Neurosci 2013 22;7:19. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Central proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons form a potent anorexigenic network, but our understanding of the integration of this hypothalamic circuit throughout the central nervous system (CNS) remains incomplete. POMC neurons extend projections along the rostrocaudal axis of the brain, and can signal with both POMC-derived peptides and fast amino acid neurotransmitters. Although recent experimental advances in circuit-level manipulation have been applied to POMC neurons, many pivotal questions still remain: how and where do POMC neurons integrate metabolic information? Under what conditions do POMC neurons release bioactive molecules throughout the CNS? Are GABA and glutamate or neuropeptides released from POMC neurons more crucial for modulating feeding and metabolism? Resolving the exact stoichiometry of signals evoked from POMC neurons under different metabolic conditions therefore remains an ongoing endeavor. In this review, we analyze the anatomical atlas of this network juxtaposed to the physiological signaling of POMC neurons both in vitro and in vivo. We also consider novel genetic tools to further characterize the function of the POMC circuit in vivo. Our goal is to synthesize a global view of the POMC network, and to highlight gaps that require further research to expand our knowledge on how these neurons modulate energy balance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2013.00019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3579188PMC
February 2013

Interglomerular lateral inhibition targeted on external tufted cells in the olfactory bulb.

J Neurosci 2013 Jan;33(4):1552-63

Neuroscience Program and Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.

Lateral inhibition between neurons occurs in many different sensory systems, where it can perform such functions as contrast enhancement. In the olfactory bulb, lateral inhibition may occur between odorant receptor-specific glomeruli that are linked anatomically by GABAergic granule cells (GCs) and cells within the glomerular layer, although evidence supporting lateral inhibition at a functional level is modest. Here, we used patch-clamp, imaging, and glutamate uncaging methods in rat olfactory bulb slices to test for the presence of interglomerular lateral inhibition, as well as its underlying mechanisms. We found that a conditioning stimulus applied at one or a small group of glomeruli could suppress stimulus-evoked excitation of output mitral cells (MCs) at another glomerulus for interstimulus intervals of 20-50 ms and glomerular separations of up to 600 μm. The observed lateral inhibition was entirely dependent on circuitry within the glomerular layer, rather than GCs, and it involved GABAergic synaptic inputs that were targeted mainly onto tufted cells, which act as intermediaries in the excitation between olfactory sensory neurons and MCs. The key cell type responsible for mediating lateral interactions between glomeruli were GABAergic short-axon cells. These results suggest a functional segregation of GABAergic cells within the bulb, with one set located in the glomerular layer mediating suppression of MC spiking across glomeruli, and a second set, the GCs, synchronizing different glomeruli.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3410-12.2013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3711647PMC
January 2013

Multiple inhibitory G-protein-coupled receptors resist acute desensitization in the presynaptic but not postsynaptic compartments of neurons.

J Neurosci 2012 Jul;32(30):10192-200

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.

Acute desensitization is a common property of G(i/o)-coupled receptors. Recent data, however, suggest that, unlike μ-opioid receptors (MORs) located somatodendritically in neurons or expressed in heterologous systems, MORs in the presynaptic compartment of neurons are resistant to acute desensitization. It is not yet clear whether this differential desensitization is a shared property of many G(i/o)-coupled receptors nor whether receptors located presynaptically and postsynaptically in a single cell type display differential desensitization. Here, whole-cell recordings were made from proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in mouse brain slices. Agonists for μ-opioid, nociceptin, and GABA(B) receptors induced postsynaptic currents that desensitized within minutes, whereas inhibition of presynaptic transmitter release mediated by these receptors was maintained throughout agonist exposure. Expression of channelrhodopsin2 in POMC neurons allowed for light-evoked transmitter release from POMC neuron terminals, which was detected by recording postsynaptic currents in downstream neurons. Light-evoked currents were inhibited throughout the application of all agonists tested. Thus, the same receptors that desensitize when expressed in the postsynaptic compartment of POMC neurons resist desensitization when located in the presynaptic compartment. Pharmacologic knockdown of MORs revealed that depletion of receptor reserve does not account for presynaptic resistance to desensitization. In ∼25% of recordings with GABA(B) agonist application, presynaptic GABA(B) receptors desensitized, suggesting that resistance to desensitization is not due to an intrinsic property of the terminals themselves. Together, the results indicate that a variety of presynaptic receptors can continue to function after their postsynaptic counterparts desensitize and suggest that a compartment-specific modification may confer resistance to desensitization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1227-12.2012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3418873PMC
July 2012

Expression of GABAergic and glutamatergic phenotypic markers in hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons.

J Comp Neurol 2012 Dec;520(17):3863-76

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.

Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons have traditionally been defined by their peptide transmitters, which are important regulators of energy balance and reward. Recent work shows that POMC neurons can also release the amino acid transmitters γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate, although studying GABAergic and glutamatergic populations of POMC neurons has been hindered by the difficulty in reliably identifying amino acid (AA) transmitter phenotypes. In the present study, fluorescent in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry were used to identify POMC neurons and to detect the presence of mRNA for the transporters responsible for packaging either GABA (vesicular GABA transporter [vGAT]) or glutamate (vesicular glutamate transporter [vGLUT]) into vesicles, as well as the enzymes responsible for GABA synthesis, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)65 and GAD67. Approximately 7% of POMC neurons expressed vGlut2 and the highest percentage of vGlut2-positive POMC cells were located in the rostral arcuate nucleus. Despite the reports of GABA release from POMC neurons, vGat was not detected in POMC neurons, although Gad65 and Gad67 were present in ~40% of POMC neurons. Approximately half of the vGlut2-expressing POMC cells also expressed Gad65. Markers of neurotransmitter phenotype were better detected by using in situ hybridization techniques rather than transgenic expression of fluorophores under the control of the vGat or Gad67 promoters. It is now clear that the expression of markers of AA phenotype provides a useful means to identify distinct subpopulations of POMC neurons. Additionally, the method described will be useful to explore the possibility that plasticity of AA phenotype is an important aspect of POMC neuron function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.23127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4114021PMC
December 2012

Regulation of GABA and glutamate release from proopiomelanocortin neuron terminals in intact hypothalamic networks.

J Neurosci 2012 Mar;32(12):4042-8

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.

Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons and their peptide products mediate important aspects of energy balance, analgesia, and reward. In addition to peptide products, there is evidence that POMC neurons can also express the amino acid transmitters GABA and glutamate, suggesting these neurons may acutely inhibit or activate downstream neurons. However, the release of amino acid transmitters from POMC neurons has not been thoroughly investigated in an intact system. In the present study, the light-activated cation channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) was used to selectively evoke transmitter release from POMC neurons. Whole-cell electrophysiologic recordings were made in brain slices taken from POMC-Cre transgenic mice that had been injected with a viral vector containing a floxed ChR2 sequence. Brief pulses of blue light depolarized POMC-ChR2 neurons and induced the release of GABA and glutamate onto unidentified neurons within the arcuate nucleus, as well as onto other POMC neurons. To determine whether the release of GABA and glutamate from POMC terminals can be readily modulated, opioid and GABA(B) receptor agonists were applied. Agonists for μ- and κ-, but not δ-opioid receptors inhibited transmitter release from POMC neurons, as did the GABA(B) receptor agonist baclofen. This regulation indicates that opioids and GABA released from POMC neurons may act at presynaptic receptors on POMC terminals in an autoregulatory manner to limit continued transmission. The results show that, in addition to the relatively slow and long-lasting actions of peptides, POMC neurons can rapidly affect the activity of downstream neurons via GABA and glutamate release.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6032-11.2012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321840PMC
March 2012

Relative number and distribution of murine hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons innervating distinct target sites.

PLoS One 2011 4;6(10):e25864. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.

Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons send projections widely throughout the brain consistent with their role in regulating numerous homeostatic processes and mediating analgesia and reward. Recent data suggest that POMC neurons located in the rostral and caudal extents of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus may mediate selective actions, however it is not clear if POMC neurons in these regions of the arcuate nucleus innervate specific target sites. In the present study, fluorescent microspheres and cholera toxin B were used to retrogradely label POMC neurons in POMC-DsRed transgenic mice. The number and location of POMC cells projecting to the supraoptic nucleus, periaqueductal gray, ventral tegmental area, paraventricular nucleus, lateral hypothalamic nucleus, amygdala and the dosal vagal complex was determined. Tracer injected unilaterally labeled POMC neurons in both sides of the arcuate nucleus. While the total number of retrogradely labeled cells in the arcuate nucleus varied by injection site, less than 10% of POMC neurons were labeled with tracer injected into any target area. Limited target sites appear to be preferentially innervated by POMC neurons that reside in the rostral or caudal extremes of the arcuate nucleus, whereas the majority of target sites are innervated by diffusely distributed POMC neurons. The modest number of cells projecting to each target site indicates that relatively few POMC neurons may mediate potent and specific physiologic responses and therefore disturbed signaling in a very few POMC neurons may have significant consequences.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0025864PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3186811PMC
February 2012

Differential expression and sensitivity of presynaptic and postsynaptic opioid receptors regulating hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons.

J Neurosci 2011 Jan;31(1):281-8

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.

Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons release the endogenous opioid beta-endorphin and POMC neuron activity is inhibited by opioids, leading to the proposal that beta-endorphin acts to provide feedback inhibition. However, both intrinsic properties and synaptic inputs contribute to the regulation of POMC neurons such that attributing an autoregulatory role to opioids must include consideration of opioid receptor localization and sensitivity at both presynaptic and postsynaptic sites. In the present study, whole-cell recordings were made in POMC cells in mouse brain slices and the presynaptic and postsynaptic regulation of POMC neurons was examined using selective agonists for mu, kappa, and delta opioid receptors. Activation of mu, but not kappa or delta, receptors induced a direct postsynaptic outward current. Agonists for each of the receptors inhibited the frequency of spontaneous IPSCs. Mu and kappa, but not delta, agonists reduced the amplitude of evoked IPSCs and appeared to colocalize in a significant portion of GABAergic terminals onto POMC neurons. The presynaptic inhibition caused by the mu agonist DAMGO had an EC(50) of 80 nM, whereas the EC(50) was 350 nM when measuring the postsynaptic outward current. This differential sensitivity adds an unexpected component of opioid-dependent feedback regulation, where low levels of opioid receptor activation would likely disinhibit POMC neuron activity and higher concentrations would result in an overall inhibition. The results may help explain why it has been difficult to clearly discern the role that opioids play in the regulation of food intake and other processes involving POMC neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4654-10.2011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3061472PMC
January 2011

beta-Endorphin expression in the mouse retina.

J Comp Neurol 2010 Aug;518(15):3130-48

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.

Evidence showing expression of endogenous opioids in the mammalian retina is sparse. In the present study we examined a transgenic mouse line expressing an obligate dimerized form of Discosoma red fluorescent protein (DsRed) under the control of the pro-opiomelanocortin promoter and distal upstream regulatory elements to assess whether pro-opiomelanocortin peptide (POMC), and its opioid cleavage product, beta-endorphin, are expressed in the mouse retina. Using double label immunohistochemistry we found that DsRed fluorescence was restricted to a subset of GAD-67-positive cholinergic amacrine cells of both orthotopic and displaced subtypes. About 50% of cholinergic amacrine cells colocalized DsRed and a large fraction of DsRed-expressing amacrine cells was positive for beta-endorphin immunostaining, whereas beta-endorphin-immunoreactive neurons were absent in retinas of POMC null mice. Our findings contribute to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that opioid peptides are an integral component of vertebrate retinas, including those of mammals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.22387DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3095846PMC
August 2010

Proopiomelanocortin expression in both GABA and glutamate neurons.

J Neurosci 2009 Oct;29(43):13684-90

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1617, USA.

Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons have been intensively studied because of their essential role in regulating energy balance and body weight. Many effects of POMC neurons can be attributed to their release of cognate neuropeptides from secretory granules in axon terminals. However, these neurons also synaptically release non-peptide neurotransmitters. The aim of this study was to settle the controversy whether there are separate populations of POMC neurons that release GABA or glutamate. Transgenic mice expressing a red fluorescent protein [Discosoma red (DsRed)] driven by Pomc neuronal regulatory elements (POMC-DsRed) were crossed to mice that expressed green fluorescent protein (gfp) in GABAergic neurons (GAD67-gfp). Approximately 40% of POMC neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the double-transgenic mice expressed the GAD67-gfp transgene. In vitro neurotransmitter release was detected using whole-cell electrophysiologic recordings in cultured GAD67-gfp-positive and GAD67-gfp-negative POMC neurons that had formed recurrent synapses (autapses). Autapses from GAD67-gfp-positive neurons were uniformly GABAergic. In contrast, autapses from the GAD67-gfp-negative POMC neurons exclusively exhibited postsynaptic currents mediated by glutamate. Together, these results indicate that there are two subpopulations of POMC neurons in the arcuate nucleus differentiated by their amino acid neurotransmitter phenotype. Whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings from POMC neurons in live brain slices indicated that GABAergic and glutamatergic POMC neurons are under similar presynaptic and postsynaptic regulation, although the GABAergic POMC neurons are smaller and have higher input resistance. GABAergic and glutamatergic POMC neurons may mediate distinct aspects of POMC neuron function, including the regulation of energy homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3770-09.2009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2785088PMC
October 2009

Synaptic regulation of proopiomelanocortin neurons can occur distal to the arcuate nucleus.

Authors:
Shane T Hentges

J Neurophysiol 2007 May 14;97(5):3298-304. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.

Energy homeostasis is controlled to a large extent by various signals that are integrated in the hypothalamus. It is generally considered that neurons in each of the hypothalamic nuclei are regulated by afferent projections that terminate within the cell body region of the nucleus. However, here it is shown that hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons receive synaptic inputs onto distal dendrites that reside outside of the cell body region in the arcuate nucleus. Previous studies using whole cell recordings from identified neurons in brain slices have shown that cannabinoids reduce GABA release from inhibitory synapses onto the POMC cells. Here it was found that endocannabinoids inhibited GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents in POMC neurons only in intact sagittal brain slices, but not coronal, horizontal, or sagittal slices that were truncated rostrally at the level of the optic chiasm. Thus endocannabinoids inhibited presynaptic GABA release only at an anatomically distinct subset of POMC-neuron dendrites that extends rostrally beyond the arcuate nucleus into preoptic hypothalamic regions. There are two key results. First, the activity of POMC neurons can be regulated by afferent input at sites much farther from the soma than previously recognized. Second, endocannabinoids can act to inhibit inputs only at selective dendrites. POMC neurons play a critical role in the maintenance of body weight. Therefore these data suggest that energy balance may be regulated, in part, by modulation of POMC neuron activity at sites outside of the arcuate nucleus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00051.2007DOI Listing
May 2007

Differential regulation of synaptic inputs by constitutively released endocannabinoids and exogenous cannabinoids.

J Neurosci 2005 Oct;25(42):9746-51

Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97329, USA.

Endocannabinoid release from a single neuron has been shown to cause presynaptic inhibition of transmitter release at many different sites. Here, we demonstrate that hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons release endocannabinoids continuously under basal conditions, unlike other release sites at which endocannabinoid production must be stimulated. The basal endocannabinoid release selectively inhibited GABA release onto POMC neurons, although exogenous administration of cannabinoid agonists also inhibited glutamate release. The CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist AM 251 [N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide] blocked endocannabinoid-mediated inhibition of GABA release without affecting excitatory synaptic currents, whereas the CB1 receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 [R-(+)-(2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(4-morpholinyl)methyl]pyrol [1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl)(1-naphthalenyl) methanone monomethanesulfonate] inhibited both inhibitory and excitatory synaptic currents in POMC neurons. These data demonstrate that endogenously released cannabinoids and exogenously applied CB1 receptor agonists can have markedly different effects on synaptic inputs. Furthermore, the data suggest a novel form of endocannabinoid-mediated retrograde inhibition, whereby the regulation of a subset of inputs requires either the removal of tonic presynaptic inhibition caused by endocannabinoids or the engagement of a mechanism that actively inhibits endocannabinoid production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2769-05.2005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6725733PMC
October 2005

A transgenic marker for newly born granule cells in dentate gyrus.

J Neurosci 2004 Mar;24(13):3251-9

Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.

Neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus continues into adulthood, yet little is known about the function of newly born neurons or how they integrate into an existing network of mature neurons. We made transgenic mice that selectively and transiently express enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in newly born granule cells of the dentate gyrus under the transcriptional control of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) genomic sequences. Analysis of transgenic pedigrees with truncation or deletion mutations indicated that EGFP expression in the dentate gyrus required cryptic POMC promoter regions dispensable for arcuate hypothalamic or pituitary expression. Unlike arcuate neurons, dentate granule cells did not express the endogenous POMC gene. EGFP-positive neurons had immature properties, including short spineless dendrites and small action potentials. Colocalization with bromodeoxyuridine indicated that EGFP-labeled granule cells were approximately 2 weeks postmitotic. EGFP-labeled cells expressed markers for immature granule cells but not the glial marker GFAP. The number of EGFP-labeled neurons declined with age and increased with exercise, paralleling neurogenesis. Our results indicate that POMC-EGFP marks immature granule cells and that adult-generated granule cells integrate quite slowly into the hippocampal circuitry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5173-03.2004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6730035PMC
March 2004

GABA release from proopiomelanocortin neurons.

J Neurosci 2004 Feb;24(7):1578-83

Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.

Neural networks controlling food intake and energy homeostasis clearly involve proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons and their peptide transmitters. alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone from arcuate POMC neurons potently reduces food intake, whereas arcuate neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurons act in opposition to stimulate food intake. In addition to orexigenic peptides, NPY neurons also release the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which can act in a local circuit to inhibit POMC neuron activity. Whether or not reciprocal inhibition could occur has not yet been determined, because the presence of a rapid neurotransmitter in POMC neurons has not been demonstrated previously. Here, we used primary cultures of fluorescently labeled POMC neurons that had formed recurrent synapses (autapses) to detect the release of neurotransmitter. When an action potential was evoked in the axon of a POMC neuron with autapses, a short-latency synaptic current was recorded in the same cell. The autaptic current was abolished by GABA(A) receptor antagonists and substantially inhibited by opioids. Double-label in situ RNA hybridization for POMC and glutamic acid decarboxylase, the GABA synthetic enzyme, revealed colocalization of mRNAs in approximately one-third of POMC neurons in vivo. Our results suggest that these neurons can exert rapid inhibitory effects via the release of GABA, in addition to the more sustained actions provided by POMC peptides. However, this rapid inhibition may not play a major role within local hypothalamic circuits, but rather is likely to be important in more distant projection areas as indicated by the colocalization of vesicular GABA transporter immunoreactivity predominantly in extrahypothalamic POMC terminals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3952-03.2004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6730447PMC
February 2004

Involvement of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4) in pituitary prolactinoma pathogenesis through a Smad/estrogen receptor crosstalk.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2003 Feb 27;100(3):1034-9. Epub 2003 Jan 27.

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Kraepelinstrasse 10, 80804 Munich, Germany.

Pituitary tumor development involves clonal expansion stimulated by hormones and growth factorscytokines. Using mRNA differential display, we found that the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) inhibitor noggin is down-regulated in prolactinomas from dopamine D2-receptor-deficient mice. BMP-4 is overexpressed in prolactinomas taken from dopamine D2-receptor-deficient female mice, but expression of the highly homologous BMP-2 does not differ in normal pituitary tissue and prolactinomas. BMP-4 is overexpressed in other prolactinoma models, including estradiol-induced rat prolactinomas and human prolactinomas, compared with normal tissue and other pituitary adenoma types (Western blot analysis of 48 tumors). BMP-4 stimulates, and noggin blocks, cell proliferation and the expression of c-Myc in human prolactinomas, whereas BMP-4 has no action in other human pituitary tumors. GH3 cells stably transfected with a dominant negative of Smad4 (Smad4dn; a BMP signal cotransducer) or noggin have reduced tumorigenicity in nude mice. Tumor growth recovered in vivo when the Smad4dn expression was lost, proving that BMP-4Smad4 are involved in tumor development in vivo. BMP-4 and estrogens act through overlapping intracellular signaling mechanisms on GH3 cell proliferation and c-myc expression: they had additive effects at low concentrations but not at saturating doses, and their action was inhibited by blocking either pathway with the reciprocal antagonist (i.e., BMP-4 with ICI 182780 or 17beta-estradiol with Smad4dn). Furthermore, coimmunoprecipitation studies demonstrate that under BMP-4 stimulation Smad4 and Smad1 physically interact with the estrogen receptor. This previously undescribed prolactinoma pathogenesis mechanism may participate in tumorigenicity in other cells where estrogens and the type beta transforming growth factor family have important roles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0237312100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC298721PMC
February 2003

Ovarian dependence for pituitary tumorigenesis in D2 dopamine receptor-deficient mice.

Endocrinology 2002 Dec;143(12):4536-43

Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97201, USA.

Hypophyseotropic dopamine exerts a tonic inhibitory tone on pituitary lactotrophs by the activation of dopamine D2 receptors (D2R). Ablation of D2R through gene knock-out approaches results in hyperprolactinemia and prolactinomas. This phenotype is more severe and develops more rapidly in female mice. We tested whether the female hypersensitivity is due solely to the loss of D2R inhibitory tone or concomitant stimulation by ovarian factors. C57BL/6J congenic D2R(-/-) mice were ovariectomized at 2 months of age and serum PRL levels were measured serially. Ovariectomy attenuated hyperprolactinemia and after 18 months, D2R(-/-) mice had average pituitary weights of 4 mg, compared with 60 mg in the intact group. 17beta-Estradiol did not restore PRL secretion or pituitary weight. Although the pharmacologic dose of estradiol slightly increased pituitary weight in wild-type and D2R(-/-) mice, it inhibited serum PRL in both intact and ovariectomized females and in castrated males. For comparison, we tested the estradiol response of wild-type 129S6/SvEv mice in the same paradigm and found the expected increase in pituitary weight and serum PRL. Our results demonstrate that the development of hyperprolactinemia and prolactinomas in mice lacking D2R is dependent on ovarian stimulation and likely involves a factor(s) in addition to estrogen. Furthermore, we showed that estradiol-induced proliferation and PRL secretion can be differentially regulated in a strain-specific manner. These findings illustrate the importance of genetic background when analyzing endocrine regulation in mutant mouse models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2002-220421DOI Listing
December 2002