Pioglitazone treatment increases food intake and decreases energy expenditure partially via hypothalamic adiponectin/adipoR1/AMPK pathway

P. G.F. Quaresma, N. Reencober, T. M. Zanotto, A. C. Santos, L. Weissmann, A. H.B. De Matos, I. Lopes-Cendes, F. Folli, M. J.A. Saad, P. O. Prada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction:Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) enhanced body weight (BW) partially by increased adipogenesis and hyperphagia. Neuronal PPARγ knockout mice on high-fat diet (HFD) are leaner because of enhanced leptin response, although it could be secondary to their leanness. Thus, it still is an open question how TZDs may alter energy balance. Multiple factors regulate food intake (FI) and energy expenditure (EE), including anorexigenic hormones as insulin and leptin. Nonetheless, elevated hypothalamic AMPK activity increases FI and TZDs increase AMPK activity in muscle cells. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether Pioglitazone (PIO) treatment alters hypothalamic insulin and leptin action/signaling, AMPK phosphorylation, and whether these alterations may be implicated in the regulation of FI and EE.Methods:Swiss mice on HFD (2 months) received PIO (25 mg kg-1 per day-gavage) or vehicle for 14 days. AMPK and AdipoR1 were inhibited via Intracerebroventricular injections using Compound C (CompC) and small interference RNA (siRNA), respectively. Western blot, real-time PCR and CLAMS were done.Results:PIO treatment increased BW, adiposity, FI, NPY mRNA and decreased POMC mRNA expression and EE in HFD mice. Despite higher adiposity, PIO treatment improved insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, decreased insulin and increased adiponectin serum levels. This result was associated with, improved insulin and leptin action/signaling, decreased α2AMPK Ser491 phosphorylation and elevated Acetyl-CoA carboxylase and AMPK Thr172 phosphorylation in hypothalamus. The inhibition of hypothalamic AMPK with CompC was associated with decreased adiposity, FI, NPY mRNA and EE in PIO-treated mice. The reduced expression of hypothalamic AdipoR1 with siRNA concomitantly with PIO treatment reverted PIO induced obesity development, suggesting that adiponectin may be involved in this effect.Conclusions:These results demonstrated that PIO, despite improving insulin/leptin action in hypothalamus, increases FI and decreases EE, partially, by activating hypothalamic adiponectin/AdipoR1/AMPK axis. Suggesting a novel mechanism in the hypothalamus by which TZDs increase BW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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