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Hindbrain catecholamine neurons are required for rapid switching of metabolic substrate utilization during glucoprivation

Li A-J, Wang Q, Dinh TT, Ritter S (2010) Hindbrain catecholamine neurons are required for rapid switching of metabolic substrate utilization during glucoprivation. Neuroscience 2010 Abstracts 392.14/III1. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: Glucoprivation is a metabolic emergency in which a rapid and effective system-wide switch to fat metabolism must occur to conserve any available glucose for use by the brain. Glucoprivation stimulates secretion of corticosterone, which is known to play an important role in promoting fat utilization. In previously published work, we showed that injections of the retrogradely transported catecholamine neuron immunotoxin, anti-dopamine beta-hydroxylase conjugated to saporin (DSAP) into the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH) eliminate the corticosterone response to glucoprivation without impairing the response to a nonmetabolic stressor (swim stress), without altering the circadian rhythm of corticosterone secretion and without damaging the PVH CRF-secreting neurons. Here we microinjected DSAP into the PVH to selectively lesion hindbrain catecholamine neurons innervating this site, thus impairing the glucoprivation-induced corticosterone response. Using indirect calorimetry, we examined metabolic fuel utilization and other metabolic parameters in these lesioned rats under basal and glucoprivic conditions. Under basal conditions, energy expenditure and locomotor activity did not differ between DSAP rats and controls injected with unconjugated saporin (SAP). However, DSAP rats had a higher respiratory exchange ratio (RER) than SAPs, indicating their greater dependence on carbohydrate utilization. Glucoprivation induced by 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG, 250 mg/kg) reduced energy expenditure equally in SAP and DSAP rats. However, 2DG rapidly decreased RER to 0.8 (a value indicating ongoing fat metabolism) in the SAP group, but not in the DSAP group. Responses to 2DG persisted for about 6 hours. Adrenal dennervation, which eliminates the adrenal medullary response to glucoprivation, did not alter these responses to 2DG in either SAP or DSAP rats. Results indicate that in the absence of hypothalamically-projecting hindbrain catecholamine neurons, rats cannot efficiently switch their fuel utilization from carbohydrate to fat during glucoprivation, presumably due to a deficient corticosterone response. Results also suggest a previously unrecognized role for these catecholamine neurons in control of basal substrate utilization.

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