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Dis Model Mech. 2012 Sep;5(5):686-90. doi: 10.1242/dmm.009464. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

High-fat-diet exposure induces IgG accumulation in hypothalamic microglia.

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Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Centre for Health and Environment, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany.


The mediobasal hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC), with its relatively 'leaky' blood-brain barrier that allows more circulating molecules to enter the brain, has emerged as a key sensor of blood-borne signals. In both the ARC and white adipose tissue (WAT), consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) rapidly induces infiltration of microglia (ARC) or macrophages (WAT). Animals with HFD-induced obesity (DIO) and insulin resistance additionally accumulate B cells in WAT, increasing the local production of pathogenic antibodies. We therefore investigated whether DIO mice or genetically obese ob/ob mice have increased IgG in the ARC, analogous to the recent observations in WAT. Following 16 weeks of exposure to a HFD, wild-type (WT) mice had significantly increased IgG-immunoreactivity (ir) signaling that was specific to the ARC and was exclusively concentrated in microglia. By contrast, IgG-ir of age-matched obese ob/ob mice fed standard chow had ARC IgG levels comparable with those in chow-fed WT control mice. However, following 2 weeks of HFD exposure, ob/ob mice also had a significant increase of IgG-ir in the ARC. In summary, our findings reveal a novel pathophysiological phenomenon, specific for the hypothalamic ARC, that is induced by exposure to a HFD and can be enhanced, but not caused, by genetic obesity.

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