Journal of neuroscience research

Caudal fourth ventricular administration of the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-riboside regulates glucose and counterregulatory hormone profiles, dorsal vagal complex metabolosensory neuron function, and hypothalamic Fos expression.

PMID 23825033


This study investigated the hypothesis that estrogen controls hindbrain AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity and regulation of blood glucose, counterregulatory hormone secretion, and hypothalamic nerve cell transcriptional status. Dorsal vagal complex A2 noradrenergic neurons were laser microdissected from estradiol benzoate (E)- or oil (O)-implanted ovariectomized female rats after caudal fourth ventricular (CV4) delivery of the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-riboside (AICAR), for Western blot analysis. E advanced AICAR-induced increases in A2 phospho-AMPK (pAMPK) expression and in blood glucose levels and was required for augmentation of Fos, estrogen receptor-α (ERα), monocarboxylate transporter-2, and glucose transporter-3 protein in A2 neurons and enhancement of corticosterone secretion by this treatment paradigm. CV4 AICAR also resulted in site-specific modifications in Fos immunolabeling of hypothalamic metabolic structures, including the paraventricular, ventromedial, and arcuate nuclei. The current studies demonstrate that estrogen regulates AMPK activation in caudal hindbrain A2 noradrenergic neurons during pharmacological replication of energy shortage in this area of the brain, and that this sensor is involved in neural regulation of glucostasis, in part, through control of corticosterone secretion. The data provide unique evidence that A2 neurons express both ERα and -β proteins and that AMPK upregulates cellular sensitivity to ERα-mediated signaling during simulated energy insufficiency. The results also imply that estrogen promotes glucose and lactate uptake by these cells under those conditions. Evidence for correlation between hindbrain AMPK and hypothalamic nerve cell genomic activation provides novel proof for functional connectivity between this hindbrain sensor and higher order metabolic brain loci while demonstrating a modulatory role for estrogen in this interaction.

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β-Estradiol 3-benzoate, VETRANAL®, analytical standard