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The thermogenesis resulting from brown adipose tissue (BAT)-induced energy consumption is an important method of energy regulation. It has been reported that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-positive neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) can regulate adaptive thermogenesis in interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT), but the upstream regulatory mechanism is still unclear. Our previous studies have found that a large number of dopamine (DA) receptors (DRs) are expressed on BDNF-positive neurons in the PVN and that the substantia nigra (SN) can directly project to the PVN (forming the SN-PVN pathway). Therefore, we speculate that DA in the SN can regulate the expression of BDNF via DRs and then affect IBAT thermogenesis. In this study, bilateral SN lesions were induced in rats with 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), and the altered expression of DRs and BDNF in the PVN and the metabolic changes in IBAT were studied via double immunofluorescence and western blotting. The results showed that BDNF-positive neurons in the PVN expressed DR 1 (D1) and DR 2 (D2) and were surrounded by a large number of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive nerve fibers. Compared with the control group, the 6-OHDA group exhibited significantly fewer TH-positive neurons and significantly lower TH expression in the SN, but body weight, IBAT weight and food consumption did not differ between the groups. In the PVN, BDNF expression was upregulated in the 6-OHDA group, while D2 and TH expression was downregulated. In IBAT, the expression of uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1), phosphorylated hormone-sensitive lipase (p-HSL), TH and β3-adrenergic receptor (β3-AR) was increased, while the expression of fatty acid synthase (FAS) was decreased. The IBAT cell diameter was also decreased in the 6-OHDA group. The results suggest that the SN-PVN pathway may be an upstream neural pathway that can affect BDNF expression in the PVN and that DRs may mediate its regulatory effects. This study expands our understanding of the relationship between DA and obesity. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Yang Zhang, Li Zhou, Hui Lian, Yimin Zhang, Shilin Tong, Zhiyong Wang. Dopamine receptor 2 downregulation and brain-derived neurotrophic factor upregulation in the paraventricular nucleus are correlated with brown adipose tissue thermogenesis in rats with bilateral substantia nigra lesions. Journal of chemical neuroanatomy. 2021 Nov;117:102016

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PMID: 34454019

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