The neuronal circuits involved in energy homeostasis are being extensively explored; however, the intrinsic mechanisms underlying the regulation of these neurons are just beginning to be elucidated and will be critical for understanding disorders associated with energy homeostasis (i.e., obesity, anorexia, cachexia, etc.). These neuronal circuits are modulated by many different peripheral hormones including 17β-estradiol (E2). E2, which varies during the menstrual cycle, is anorectic leading to decreased food intake and body weight. E2 can alter homeostatic functions by activating ERα and novel G-protein coupled membrane estrogen receptors (GqmER) to alter the expression and activity of cation channels that control neuronal excitability. Hence, an emerging and significant field in neuroendocrinology within the past decade has been the convergence of membrane-initiated steroid signaling and physiological effects. The membrane-initiated events utilized by E2 involve activation of a host of known pathways that control neuronal excitability, gene expression and cellular functions. A novel transgenic strain of mice (ERα Ki/Ko) lack a functional DNA binding domain on the ERα protein and, thus exhibit no Estrogen Response Element-mediated transcription. Using these mice along with wild type and full ERα KO, we can determine the actions of ERE-dependent and ERE-independent transcription and cell signaling on energy homeostasis. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that both of these types of signaling events are potential targets for environmental estrogens (bisphenol A (BPA), alkylphenols, phytoestrogens, etc.). Therefore, environmental estrogens have a multiplicity of potential targets in the hypothalamus outside of altering normal reproductive capacity including other hypothalamic functions controlled by endogenous estrogen. Experiments outlined this application will examine the multiple receptormediated pathways that E2 (and environmental estrogens) impact energy homoeostasis and other hypothalamic functions in the hypothalamus. In the first aim, Specific Aim 3 of K99/R00, we will elucidate the effects of ERE-dependent and ERE-independent E2 signaling (ERα and/or Gq-mER) in the control of energy homeostasis and hypothalamic gene expression and if maternal exposure to environmental estrogens function through similar mechanisms. The second aim, Specific Aim 4 of K99/R00) will examine the electrophysiological effects of exposures to environmental estrogens on POMC and NPY neuronal activity and cation channel expression both in vivo and in slice preparations. The electrophysiological effects of environmental estrogens on hypothalamic neuronal activity has not been examine previously. Since recent evidence suggests a link between developmental exposure to BPA and adult obesity, the goals of this research will address basic neurological effects of these compounds and further enhance our knowledge of the impacts environmental estrogens have on human health using novel approaches (transgenic mouse models and electrophysiological techniques) and integration with whole animal studies.
|Effective start/end date||1/1/14 → 12/31/15|
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)