Central nervous control of energy and glucose balance: Focus on the central melanocortin system

Yong Xu, Joel K. Elmquist, Makoto Fukuda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Studies have suggested that manipulations of the central melanocortin circuitry by pharmacological agents produce robust effects on the regulation of body weight and glucose homeostasis. In this review, we discuss recent findings from genetic mouse models that have further established the physiological relevance of this circuitry in the context of glucose and energy balance. In addition, we will discuss distinct neuronal populations that respond to central melanocortins to regulate food intake, energy expenditure, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion, respectively. Finally, multiple hormonal and neural cues (e.g., leptin, estrogen, and serotonin) that use the melanocortin systems to regulate energy and glucose homeostasis will be reviewed. These findings suggest that targeting the specific branches of melanocortin circuits may be potential avenues to combat the current obesity and diabetes epidemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Body weight
  • Estrogen
  • Leptin
  • Melanocortins
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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