The influence of gut bacteria on host energy homeostasis is increasingly recognized, but mechanistic links are lacking. The gut microbiota digests and ferments nutrients, which result in short‐chain fatty acids (SCFAs) . The body senses these nutrients in large part through free fatty acid receptors 2 (FFA2) and 3 (FFA3) . Accumulating evidence indicates that the gut microbiota/SCFAs interact with the central nervous system (CNS) to regulate brain metabolic function. Consistently, we found that a single acute intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of acetate (ACE) , propionate (PRO) , or butyrate (BUT) dose-dependently inhibited food intake in an FFA2/3‐dependent manner. The reduced food intake induced by ACE, PRO, or BUT was attributed to decreased meal size or increased intermeal interval. These regulatory effects on meal patterns were blunted in FFA2 and FFA3 double-receptor knockout mice, suggesting a mediating role of brain FFA2/3. Interestingly, RNAscope analysis showed that FFA3 but not FFA2 highly expressed in the cerebellar granule neurons. Using brain slice patch‐clamp, we consistently showed that PRO or FFA3-selective agonists inhibited these granule neurons. Notably, the hyperpolarization effects of PRO on cerebellar granule neurons were blocked by pertussis toxin (PTX) , a G-protein coupled receptor subunit Gi/o blocker, further supporting an FFA3-Gi/o-mediated inhibition on granule neurons. These results suggest a model that SCFAs inhibit food intake through FFA3 expressed by the cerebellar granule neurons.

Key words: SCFA; Brain; FFA3


P. Luo: None. P. Xu: None. H. Ye: None. B.T. Layden: None. Y. He: None. V.C. Torres Irizarry: None.

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