Central serotonergic neurons activate and recruit thermogenic brown and beige fat and regulate glucose and lipid homeostasis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jacob M McGlashon
  • Michelle C Gorecki
  • Amanda E Kozlowski
  • Caitlin K Thirnbeck
  • Kathleen R Markan
  • Kirstie L Leslie
  • Maya E Kotas
  • Matthew J Potthoff
  • George B Richerson
  • Matthew P Gillum

Thermogenic brown and beige adipocytes convert chemical energy to heat by metabolizing glucose and lipids. Serotonin (5-HT) neurons in the CNS are essential for thermoregulation and accordingly may control metabolic activity of thermogenic fat. To test this, we generated mice in which the human diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) was selectively expressed in central 5-HT neurons. Treatment with diphtheria toxin (DT) eliminated 5-HT neurons and caused loss of thermoregulation, brown adipose tissue (BAT) steatosis, and a >50% decrease in uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) expression in BAT and inguinal white adipose tissue (WAT). In parallel, blood glucose increased 3.5-fold, free fatty acids 13.4-fold, and triglycerides 6.5-fold. Similar BAT and beige fat defects occurred in Lmx1b(f/f)ePet1(Cre) mice in which 5-HT neurons fail to develop in utero. We conclude 5-HT neurons play a major role in regulating glucose and lipid homeostasis, in part through recruitment and metabolic activation of brown and beige adipocytes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)692-705
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

ID: 150711092