Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone is a peripheral, integrative regulator of glucose and fat metabolism.
Melanocortins are known to affect feeding and probably insulin activity through the central nervous system. It was also recently shown that peripheral alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) administration can reduce weight gain in both genetic and diet-induced obese mice. As obesity is often associated with disregulation of glucose and insulin, we investigated the nature of glucose homeostasis in the obese pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) knockout mouse. Here we report that though they are obese, mice deficient in POMC (and, thereby, deficient in alpha-MSH) are euglycemic throughout their lives. While these mice are euinsulinemic, they are hypersensitive to exogenous insulin. This defect can be reversed through administration of alpha-MSH. We demonstrate that the actions of alpha-MSH in the periphery, known from our work to include lipid metabolism effects, are also involved in glucose homeostasis. These findings substantiate a pivotal role of the POMC gene products in integrating metabolism.
Brennan, MB; Costa, JL; Forbes, S; Reed, P; Bui, S; Hochgeschwender, U
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