Preoptic leptin signaling modulates energy balance independent of body temperature regulation

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The adipokine leptin acts on the brain to regulate energy balance but specific functions in many brain areas remain poorly understood. Among these, the preoptic area (POA) is well known to regulate core body temperature by controlling brown fat thermogenesis, and we have previously shown that glutamatergic, long-form leptin receptor (Lepr)-expressing neurons in the POA are stimulated by warm ambient temperature and suppress energy expenditure and food intake. Here we further investigate the role of POA leptin signaling in body weight regulation and its relationship to body temperature regulation in mice. We show that POA Lepr signaling modulates energy expenditure in response to internal energy state, and thus contributes to body weight homeostasis. However, POA leptin signaling is not involved in ambient temperature-dependent metabolic adaptations. Our study reveals a novel cell population through which leptin regulates body weight.

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