Diabetes

 Disruption of Lipid Uptake in Astroglia Exacerbates Diet-Induced Obesity
 

Neuronal circuits in the brain help to control feeding behavior and systemic metabolism in response to afferent nutrient and hormonal signals. Although astrocytes have historically been assumed to have little relevance for such neuroendocrine control, we investigated whether lipid uptake via lipoprotein lipase (LPL) in astrocytes is required to centrally regulate energy homeostasis. Ex vivo studies with hypothalamus-derived astrocytes showed that LPL expression is upregulated by oleic acid, whereas it is decreased in response to palmitic acid or triglycerides. Likewise, astrocytic LPL deletion reduced the accumulation of lipid droplets in those glial cells. Consecutive in vivo studies showed that postnatal ablation of LPL in glial fibrillary acidic protein–expressing astrocytes induced exaggerated body weight gain and glucose intolerance in mice exposed to a high-fat diet. Intriguingly, astrocytic LPL deficiency also triggered increased ceramide content in the hypothalamus, which may contribute to hypothalamic insulin resistance. We conclude that hypothalamic LPL functions in astrocytes to ensure appropriately balanced nutrient sensing, ceramide distribution, body weight regulation, and glucose metabolism.