Effects of metabolic state on the regulation of melanocortin circuits

Linh Lieu, Dominic Chau, Sadia Afrin, Yanbin Dong, Amber L. Alhadeff, J. Nicholas Betley, Kevin W. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Dysfunction in neurophysiological systems that regulate food intake and metabolism are at least partly responsible for obesity and related comorbidities. An important component of this process is the hypothalamic melanocortin system, where an imbalance can result in severe obesity and deficits in glucose metabolism. Exercise offers many health benefits related to cardiovascular improvements, hunger control, and blood glucose homeostasis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the exercise-induced improvements to the melanocortin system remain undefined. Here, we review the role of the melanocortin system to sense hormonal, nutrient, and neuronal signals of energy status. This information is then relayed onto secondary neurons in order to regulate physiological parameters, which promote proper energy and glucose balance. We also provide an overview on the effects of physical exercise to induce biophysical changes in the melanocortin circuit which may regulate food intake, glucose metabolism and improve overall metabolic health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113039
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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