THE PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTIONS OF ADIPONECTIN IN CENTRAL AUTONOMIC NUCLEI: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE INTEGRATIVE CONTROL OF ENERGY HOMEOSTASIS
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Adiponectin regulates feeding behavior, energy expenditure and autonomic function through the activation of two receptors present in nuclei throughout the central nervous system, however much remains unknown about the mechanisms mediating these effects. Here I investigate the actions of adiponectin in autonomic centers of the hypothalamus (the paraventricular nucleus) and brainstem (the nucleus of the solitary tract) through examining molecular, electrical, hormonal and physiological consequences of peptidergic signalling. RT-PCR and in situ hybridization experiments demonstrate the presence of AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 mRNA in the paraventricular nucleus. Investigation of the electrical consequences following receptor activation in the paraventricular nucleus indicates that magnocellular-oxytocin cells are homogeneously inhibited while magnocellular-vasopressin neurons display mixed responses. Single cell RT-PCR analysis shows oxytocin neurons express both receptors while vasopressin neurons express either both receptors or one receptor. Co-expressing oxytocin and vasopressin neurons express neither receptor and are not affected by adiponectin. Median eminence projecting corticotropin releasing hormone neurons, brainstem projecting oxytocin neurons, and thyrotropin releasing hormone neurons are all depolarized by adiponectin. Plasma adrenocorticotropin hormone concentration is increased following intracerebroventricular injections of adiponectin. I demonstrate that the nucleus of the solitary tract, the primary cardiovascular regulation site of the medulla, expresses mRNA for AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 and mediates adiponectin induced hypotension. Adiponectin has electrical effects on a majority of medial solitary tract neurons and depolarizes those expressing mRNA for the hypotensive neuropeptide Y, revealing a central mechanism to modulate blood pressure. Finally, I show that adiponectin controls paraventricular nucleus neuron excitability by either inhibiting a tetraethyl ammonium-sensitive potassium current thereby depolarizing neurons or activating a glibenclamide-sensitive voltage independent potassium current hyperpolarizing neurons. Therefore, adiponectin differentially modulates potassium current to confer its central effects. These results are the first to show the physiological and electrical actions of adiponectin on individual neurons in blood brain barrier protected central autonomic nuclei. This thesis provides a framework for how adiponectin acts centrally to coordinate whole body energy homeostasis and feeding behavior in the rat.