Unaltered Hypothalamic Metabolic Gene Expression in Kiss1r Knockout Mice Despite Obesity and Reduced Energy Expenditure

Julie Ann P De Bond, Kristen P. Tolson, Chanond Nasamran, Alexander S. Kauffman, Jeremy T. Smith

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Kisspeptin controls reproduction by stimulating gonadotrophin-releasing hormone neurones via its receptor Kiss1r. Kiss1r is also expressed other brain areas and in peripheral tissues, suggesting additional nonreproductive roles. We recently determined that Kiss1r knockout (KO) mice develop an obese and diabetic phenotype. In the present study, we investigated whether Kiss1r KOs develop this metabolic phenotype as a result of alterations in the expression of metabolic genes involved in the appetite regulating system of the hypothalamus, including neuropeptide Y (Npy) and pro-opiomelanocortin (Pomc), as well as leptin receptor (Lepr), ghrelin receptor (Ghsr), and melanocortin receptors 3 and 4 (Mc3r, Mc4r). Body weights, leptin levels and hypothalamic gene expression were measured in both gonad-intact and gonadectomised (GNX) mice at 8 and 20 weeks of age that had received either normal chow or a high-fat diet. We detected significant increases in Pomc expression in gonad-intact Kiss1r KO mice at 8 and 20 weeks, although there were no alterations in the other metabolic-related genes. However, the Pomc increases appeared to reflect genotype differences in circulating sex steroids, because GNX wild-type and Kiss1r KO mice exhibited similar Pomc levels, along with similar Npy levels. The altered Pomc gene expression in gonad-intact Kiss1r KO mice is consistent with previous reports of reduced food intake in these mice and may serve to increase the anorexigenic drive, perhaps compensating for the obese state. However, the surprising overall lack of changes in any of the hypothalamic metabolic genes in GNX KO mice suggests that the aetiology of obesity in the absence of kisspeptin signalling may reflect peripheral rather than central metabolic impairments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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