Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is an important regulator of food intake, glucose metabolism, and adiposity. However, the mechanisms mediating these actions remain largely unknown. We used pharmacological and genetic approaches to show that the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1)/FoxO1 signaling pathway in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) mediates MCH-induced feeding, adiposity, and glucose intolerance. MCH reduces proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neuronal activity, and the SIRT1/FoxO1 pathway regulates the inhibitory effect of MCH on POMC expression. Remarkably, the metabolic actions of MCH are compromised in mice lacking SIRT1 specifically in POMC neurons. Of note, the actions of MCH are independent of agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons because inhibition of γ-aminobutyric acid receptor in the ARC did not prevent the orexigenic action of MCH, and the hypophagic effect of MCH silencing was maintained after chemogenetic stimulation of AgRP neurons. Central SIRT1 is required for MCH-induced weight gain through its actions on the sympathetic nervous system. The central MCH knockdown causes hypophagia and weight loss in diet-induced obese wild-type mice; however, these effects were abolished in mice overexpressing SIRT1 fed a high-fat diet. These data reveal the neuronal basis for the effects of MCH on food intake, body weight, and glucose metabolism and highlight the relevance of SIRT1/FoxO1 pathway in obesity.
- Received January 9, 2019.
- Accepted September 3, 2019.
- © 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.