Send to

Choose Destination
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2017 Aug 14;8:197. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2017.00197. eCollection 2017.

Hypothalamic Inflammation and Energy Balance Disruptions: Spotlight on Chemokines.

Author information

CNRS, Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Université Côte d'Azur, Valbonne, France.
Helmholtz Diabetes Center (HDC), German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany.
Division of Metabolic Diseases, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.


The hypothalamus is a key brain region in the regulation of energy balance as it controls food intake and both energy storage and expenditure through integration of humoral, neural, and nutrient-related signals and cues. Many years of research have focused on the regulation of energy balance by hypothalamic neurons, but the most recent findings suggest that neurons and glial cells, such as microglia and astrocytes, in the hypothalamus actually orchestrate together several metabolic functions. Because glial cells have been described as mediators of inflammatory processes in the brain, the existence of a causal link between hypothalamic inflammation and the deregulations of feeding behavior, leading to involuntary weight loss or obesity for example, has been suggested. Several inflammatory pathways that could impair the hypothalamic control of energy balance have been studied over the years such as, among others, toll-like receptors and canonical cytokines. Yet, less studied so far, chemokines also represent interesting candidates that could link the aforementioned pathways and the activity of hypothalamic neurons. Indeed, chemokines, in addition to their role in attracting immune cells to the inflamed site, have been suggested to be capable of neuromodulation. Thus, they could disrupt cellular activity together with synthesis and/or secretion of multiple neurotransmitters/mediators involved in the maintenance of energy balance. This review discusses the different inflammatory pathways that have been identified so far in the hypothalamus in the context of feeding behavior and body weight control impairments, with a particular focus on chemokines signaling that opens a new avenue in the understanding of the major role played by inflammation in obesity.


anorexia; chemokines; energy balance; high-fat diet; hypothalamus; metabolic diseases; neuroinflammation; obesity

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center