We recently reported that neuron-specific (pro) renin receptor (PRR) deletion reduces fasting blood glucose (BG) levels and improves glucose tolerance in high fat diet (HFD) -treated mice. To investigate underlying mechanisms, we focused on tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (THPVN neurons) , a largely GABAergic population that expresses PRR and projects to autonomic centers important for BG regulation. To delete PRR from THPVN neurons, we injected into the PVN of PRR-loxp mice either an adeno-associated virus expressing cre recombinase under the control of the rat TH promoter (AAV2-TH-Cre) or AAV2-TH-eGFP as a control. After placing animals on a HFD for 6 wk, we found that the obesity-induced increase of fasting BG levels was blocked by PRR deletion from THPVN neurons (118.0 ± 3.7 vs. 139.3 ± 6.6 mg/dL, n=6/group, p= 0.04) , accompanied by a trend towards improved i.p. glucose tolerance (AUC: 12990 ± 1136 vs. 9467 ± 1298, n=6, p=0.07) . To further investigate the role of THPVN neurons in glucose homeostasis, we employed a Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADD) approach whereby AAV2-TH-Cre was injected bilaterally into the PVN of either hM3Dq-loxp (excitatory) or hM4Di-loxp (inhibitory) mice, and continuous glucose monitoring was performed in conscious, freely moving mice. Following i.p. injection of clozapine-N-oxide (CNO, 1 mg/Kg) or vehicle, we found that whereas basal BG levels were not altered by THPVN neuron activation, THPVN neuron inhibition significantly increased basal BG levels compared to vehicle in male (ΔBG: 31.6 ± 8.6 mg/dL vs. 11.0 ± 6.7 mg/dL, n=4, p=0.03) but not female mice. These findings establish a role for THPVN neuron PRR signaling in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated glucose metabolic impairment, and show that in male mice, basal THPVN neuron activity is required for normal glucose homeostasis.


L.Ac. souza: None. C.J.Worker: None. A.Gayban: None. M.W.Schwartz: None. Y.Feng earley: None.


National Institutes of Health (R01HL122770, R35HL155008, RDK83042, RDK124238)

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at http://www.diabetesjournals.org/content/license.