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Nat Med. 2010 Apr;16(4):403-5. doi: 10.1038/nm.2126. Epub 2010 Mar 28.

Pomc-expressing progenitors give rise to antagonistic neuronal populations in hypothalamic feeding circuits.

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  • 1Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.


Hypothalamic neuron circuits regulating energy balance are highly plastic and develop in response to nutrient and hormonal cues. To identify processes that might be susceptible to gestational influences in mice, we characterized the ontogeny of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) cell populations, which exert opposing influences on food intake and body weight. These analyses revealed that Pomc is broadly expressed in immature hypothalamic neurons and that half of embryonic Pomc-expressing precursors subsequently adopt a non-POMC fate in adult mice. Moreover, nearly one quarter of the mature NPY+ cell population shares a common progenitor with POMC+ cells.

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