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Diabetes. 2006 Sep;55(9):2554-61.

Exercise improves insulin and leptin sensitivity in hypothalamus of Wistar rats.

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Department of Internal Medicine, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), 13081-970-Campinas, SP, Brazil.

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Prolonged exercise of medium to high intensity is known to promote a substantial effect on the energy balance of rats. In male rats, moderately to severely intense programs lead to a reduction in food intake. However, the exact causes for the appetite-suppressive effects of exercise are not known. Here, we show that intracerebroventricular insulin or leptin infusion reduced food intake in exercised rats to a greater extent than that observed in control animals. Exercise was associated with a markedly increased phosphorylation/activity of several proteins involved in leptin and insulin signal transduction in the hypothalamus. The regulatory role of interleukin (IL)-6 in mediating the increase in leptin and insulin sensitivity in hypothalamus was also investigated. Treatment with insulin or leptin markedly reduced food intake in exercised rats that were pretreated with vehicle, although no increase in sensitivity to leptin- and insulin-induced anorexia after pretreatment with anti-IL-6 antibody was detected. The current study provides direct measurements of leptin and insulin signaling in the hypothalamus and documents increased sensitivity to these hormones in the hypothalamus of exercised rats in an IL-6-dependent manner. These findings provide support for the hypothesis that the appetite-suppressive actions of exercise may be mediated by the hypothalamus.

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