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We examined whether pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) excites proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons via PAC1 receptor mediation and transient receptor potential cation (TRPC) channel activation. Electrophysiological recordings were done in slices from both intact male and ovariectomized (OVX) female PACAP-Cre mice and eGFP-POMC mice. In recordings from POMC neurons in eGFP-POMC mice, PACAP induced a robust inward current and increase in conductance in voltage clamp, and a depolarization and increase in firing in current clamp. These postsynaptic actions were abolished by inhibitors of the PAC1 receptor, TRPC channels, phospholipase C, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase, and protein kinase C. Estradiol augmented the PACAP-induced inward current, depolarization, and increased firing, which was abrogated by estrogen receptor (ER) antagonists. In optogenetic recordings from POMC neurons in PACAP-Cre mice, high-frequency photostimulation induced inward currents, depolarizations, and increased firing that were significantly enhanced by Gq-coupled membrane ER signaling in an ER antagonist-sensitive manner. Importantly, the PACAP-induced excitation of POMC neurons was notably reduced in obese, high-fat (HFD)-fed males. In vivo experiments revealed that intra-arcuate nucleus (ARC) PACAP as well as chemogenetic and optogenetic stimulation of ventromedial nucleus (VMN) PACAP neurons produced a significant decrease in energy intake accompanied by an increase in energy expenditure, effects blunted by HFD in males and partially potentiated by estradiol in OVX females. These findings reveal that the PACAP-induced activation of PAC1 receptor and TRPC5 channels at VMN PACAP/ARC POMC synapses is potentiated by estradiol and attenuated under conditions of diet-induced obesity/insulin resistance. As such, they advance our understanding of how PACAP regulates the homeostatic energy balance circuitry under normal and pathophysiological circumstances. © 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Rachel Chang, Jennifer Hernandez, Cassandra Gastelum, Kaitlyn Guadagno, Lynnea Perez, Edward J Wagner. Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide Excites Proopiomelanocortin Neurons: Implications for the Regulation of Energy Homeostasis. Neuroendocrinology. 2021;111(1-2):45-69

PMID: 32028278

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