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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Apr;18(4):682-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.345. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus lesion involvement in the sympathetic control of lipid mobilization.

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Department of Biology and Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) innervation of white adipose tissue (WAT) is the principal initiator of lipolysis. Using pseudorabies virus, a transneuronal viral tract tracer, brain sites involved in the SNS outflow to WAT have been identified previously by us. One of these sites, the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVH) that shows predominantly unilateral sympathetic outflow from each half of the nucleus to ipsilaterally located WAT depots, was tested for laterality in lipid accumulation/mobilization in Siberian hamsters. First we tested whether unilateral PVH electrolytic lesions (PVHx) would increase lipid accumulation in WAT pads ipsilateral to the side of the PVHx. PVHx significantly increased body and WAT pad masses compared with sham PVHx; however, there was no laterality effect. In addition, bilateral PVHx increased body and WAT pad masses, as well as food intake, to a greater extent than did unilateral PVHx. We next tested for possible laterality effects on WAT lipid mobilization using food deprivation as the lipolytic stimulus in hamsters bearing unilateral or bilateral PVHx. Lipid mobilization was not prevented, as indicated indirectly by WAT mass and thus laterality of lipid mobilization could not be tested. We then tested whether removal of adrenal catecholamines via adrenal demedullation (ADMEDx) alone, or combined with bilateral PVHx, would block food deprivation-induced lipid mobilization, but neither did so. These results suggest that an intact PVH is not necessary for food deprivation-induced lipid mobilization and support the primacy of the SNS innervation of WAT, rather than adrenal medullary catecholamines, for lipid mobilization from WAT.

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