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Peixin Li, Zhijian Rao, Brenton Thomas Laing, Wyatt Bunner, Taylor Landry, Amber Prete, Yuan Yuan, Zhong-Tao Zhang, and Hu Huang

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is an effective surgery to treat obesity and diabetes. However, the direct effect of VSG on metabolic functions is not fully understood. We aimed to investigate if alterations in hypothalamic neurons were linked with perturbations in liver metabolism after VSG in an energy intake-controlled obese mouse model. C57BL/6 and hrNPY-GFP reporter mice received HFD for 12 weeks and were then divided into three groups: Sham (ad lib), Sham (pair-fed) with VSG and VSG. Food intake was measured daily, and blood glucose levels were measured before and after the study. Energy expenditure and body composition were determined. Serum parameters, liver lipid and glycogen contents were measured and gene/protein expression were analyzed. Hypothalamic POMC, AgRP/NPY and tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing neurons were counted. The following results were obtained. VSG reduced body weight gain and adiposity induced by HFD, increased energy expenditure independent of energy intake. Fed and fasted blood glucose levels were reduced in the VSG group. While serum active GLP-1 level was increased, the active ghrelin and triglycerides levels were decreased along with improved insulin resistance in VSG group. Liver lipid accumulation, glycogen content and gluconeogenic gene expression were reduced in the VSG group. In the hypothalamus, TH-expressing neuron population was decreased, and the POMC-expressing neuron population was increased in the VSG group. In conclusion, our data suggest that VSG improves metabolic symptoms by increasing energy expenditure and lowering lipid and glycogen contents in the liver. These physiological alterations are possibly related to changes in hypothalamic neuron populations.

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Taylor Landry, Daniel Shookster, Alec Chaves, Katrina Free, Tony Nguyen, and Hu Huang

Recent evidence identifies a potent role for aerobic exercise to modulate the activity of hypothalamic neurons related to appetite; however, these studies have been primarily performed in male rodents. Since females have markedly different neuronal mechanisms regulating food intake, the current study aimed to determine the effects of acute treadmill exercise on hypothalamic neuron populations involved in regulating appetite in female mice. Mature, untrained female mice were exposed to acute sedentary, low- (10 m/min), moderate- (14 m/min), and high (18 m/min)-intensity treadmill exercise in a randomized crossover design. Mice were fasted 10 h before exercise, and food intake was monitored for 48 h after bouts. Immunohistochemical detection of cFOS was performed 3 h post-exercise to determine the changes in hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY)/agouti-related peptide (AgRP), pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and SIM1-expressing neuron activity concurrent with the changes in food intake. Additionally, stains for pSTAT3tyr705 and pERKthr202/tyr204 were performed to detect exercise-mediated changes in intracellular signaling. Briefly, moderate- and high-intensity exercises increased 24-h food intake by 5.9 and 19%, respectively, while low-intensity exercise had no effects. Furthermore, increases in NPY/AgRPARC, SIM1PVN, and TH neuron activity were observed 3 h after high-intensity exercise, with no effects on POMCARC neurons. While no effects of exercise on pERKthr202/tyr204 were observed, pSTAT3tyr705 was elevated specifically in NPY/AgRP neurons 3 h post-exercise. Overall, aerobic exercise increased the activity of several appetite-stimulating neuron populations in the hypothalamus of female mice, which may provide insight into previously reported sexual dimorphisms in post-exercise feeding.