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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2010 Oct;67(19):3255-73. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0414-7. Epub 2010 Jun 12.

Sensing the fuels: glucose and lipid signaling in the CNS controlling energy homeostasis.

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Department of Mouse Genetics and Metabolism, Institute for Genetics and Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging Associated Diseases (CECAD), University of Cologne, Zülpicher Strasse 47, 50674 Cologne, Germany.


The central nervous system (CNS) is capable of gathering information on the body's nutritional state and it implements appropriate behavioral and metabolic responses to changes in fuel availability. This feedback signaling of peripheral tissues ensures the maintenance of energy homeostasis. The hypothalamus is a primary site of convergence and integration for these nutrient-related feedback signals, which include central and peripheral neuronal inputs as well as hormonal signals. Increasing evidence indicates that glucose and lipids are detected by specialized fuel-sensing neurons that are integrated in these hypothalamic neuronal circuits. The purpose of this review is to outline the current understanding of fuel-sensing mechanisms in the hypothalamus, to integrate the recent findings in this field, and to address the potential role of dysregulation in these pathways in the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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