Disruption of GABA or glutamate release from POMC neurons in the adult mouse does not affect metabolic end points

Andrew R. Rau, Connie M. King, Shane T. Hentges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons contribute to the regulation of many physiological processes; the majority of which have been attributed to the release of peptides produced from the POMC prohormone such as a-MSH, which plays key roles in food intake and metabolism. However, it is now clear that POMC neurons also release amino acid transmitters that likely contribute to the overall function of POMC cells. Recent work indicates that constitutive deletion of these transmitters can affect metabolic phenotypes, but also that the expression of GABAergic or glutamatergic markers changes throughout development. The goal of the present study was to determine whether the release of glutamate or GABA from POMC neurons in the adult mouse contributes notably to energy balance regulation. Disturbed release of glutamate or GABA specifically from POMC neurons in adult mice was achieved using a tamoxifen- inducible Cre construct (Pomc-CreERT2) expressed in mice also carrying floxed versions of Slc17a6 (vGlut2) or Gad1 and Gad2, encoding the vesicular glutamate transporter type 2 and GAD67 and GAD65 proteins, respectively. All mice in the experiments received tamoxifen injections, but control mice lacked the tamoxifen-inducible Cre sequence. Body weight was unchanged in Gad1- and Gad2- or vGlut2-deleted female and male mice. Additionally, no significant differences in glucose tolerance or refeeding after an overnight fast were observed. These data collectively suggest that the release of GABA or glutamate from POMC neurons in adult mice does not significantly contribute to the metabolic parameters tested here. In light of prior work, the data also suggest that amino acid transmitter release from POMC cells may contribute to separate functions in the adult versus the developing mouse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R592-R601
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 5 2020


  • Energy balance
  • Food intake
  • GAD
  • Proopiomelanocortin
  • VGLUT2


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