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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Sep;283(3):E584-92.

Melanin-concentrating hormone activates signaling pathways in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

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  • 1Research Division, Joslin Diabetes Center and the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Energy homeostasis is regulated by peripheral signals, such as leptin, and by several orexigenic and anorectic neuropeptides. Recently, we reported that the orexigenic neuropeptide melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) stimulates leptin production by rat adipocytes and that the MCH receptor (MCH-R1) is present on these cells. Here, we show that MCH-R1 is present on murine 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with 1 micromolar MCH for up to 2 h acutely downregulated MCH-R1, indicating a mechanism of ligand-induced receptor downregulation. Potential signaling pathways mediating MCH-R1 action in adipocytes were investigated. Treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with 1 micromolar MCH rapidly induced a threefold and a fivefold increase in p44/42 MAPK and pp70 S6 kinase activities, respectively. In addition, 3T3-L1 adipocytes transiently transfected with a murine leptin-luciferase promoter construct showed a fourfold and a sixfold increase in leptin promoter-reporter gene expression at 1 h and 4 h, respectively, in response to MCH. Activity decreased to basal levels at 8 h. Furthermore, MCH-stimulated leptin promoter-driven luciferase activity was diminished in the presence of the MAP/ERK kinase inhibitor PD-98059 and in the presence of rapamycin, an inhibitor of pp70 S6 kinase activation. These results provide further evidence for a functional MCH signaling pathway in adipocytes.

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