Activation of central PPARγ promotes food intake and body weight gain; however, the identity of the neurons that express PPARγ and mediate the effect of this nuclear receptor on energy homeostasis is unknown. Here, we determined that selective ablation of PPARγ in murine proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons decreases peroxisome density, elevates reactive oxygen species, and induces leptin sensitivity in these neurons. Furthermore, ablation of PPARγ in POMC neurons preserved the interaction between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum, which is dysregulated by HFD. Compared with control animals, mice lacking PPARγ in POMC neurons had increased energy expenditure and locomotor activity; reduced body weight, fat mass, and food intake; and improved glucose metabolism when exposed to high-fat diet (HFD). Finally, peripheral administration of either a PPARγ activator or inhibitor failed to affect food intake of mice with POMC-specific PPARγ ablation. Taken together, our data indicate that PPARγ mediates cellular, biological, and functional adaptations of POMC neurons to HFD, thereby regulating whole-body energy balance.


Lihong Long, Chitoku Toda, Jing Kwon Jeong, Tamas L. Horvath, Sabrina Diano


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