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Nat Neurosci. 2006 Feb;9(2):227-33. Epub 2006 Jan 15.

Molecular disruption of hypothalamic nutrient sensing induces obesity.

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Department of Medicine, Diabetes Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


The sensing of circulating nutrients within the mediobasal hypothalamus may be critical for energy homeostasis. To induce a sustained impairment in hypothalamic nutrient sensing, adeno-associated viruses (AAV) expressing malonyl-coenzyme A decarboxylase (MCD; an enzyme involved in the degradation of malonyl coenzyme A) were injected bilaterally into the mediobasal hypothalamus of rats. MCD overexpression led to decreased abundance of long-chain fatty acyl-coenzyme A in the mediobasal hypothalamus and blunted the hypothalamic responses to increased lipid availability. The enhanced expression of MCD within this hypothalamic region induced a rapid increase in food intake and progressive weight gain. Obesity was sustained for at least 4 months and occurred despite increased plasma concentrations of leptin and insulin. These findings indicate that nutritional modulation of the hypothalamic abundance of malonyl-coenzyme A is required to restrain food intake and that a primary impairment in this central nutrient-sensing pathway is sufficient to disrupt energy homeostasis and induce obesity.

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