Increased noradrenergic activity in the ventromedial hypothalamus during treadmill running in rats

Ryo Kitaoka, Teppei Fujikawa, Takashi Miyaki, Shigenobu Matsumura, Tohru Fushiki, Kazuo Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Physical exercise dramatically increases the energy expenditure of animals. In terms of energy substrate, at the onset of exercise, the contribution of carbohydrates to the energy expenditure is relatively predominant, and decreases gradually with the progression of exercise, while fat consumption increases progressively. The ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) is a nucleus in the hypothalamus that regulates whole body energy metabolism via the sympathetic nervous system. Some reports have indicated that noradrenergic projections to the VMH are involved in energy metabolism during exercise. However, it is not clear whether exercise influences the activity of noradrenergic projections to the VMH. We hypothesize that during exercise, noradrenergic neurons projecting to the VMH are activated, and play an important part in enhancing fat oxidation. To test this hypothesis, we used in vivo microdialysis to investigate the effect of exercise on the activity of monoaminergic (noradrenaline: NA, dopamine: DA, serotonin: 5-HT) neurons projecting to the VMH of rats. Rats were subjected to running at 15 m/min (incline 3°) for 60 min. During treadmill running, noradrenergic and dopaminergic activities increased significantly in the VMH. Extracellular 5-HT concentrations in the VMH did not change during treadmill running at the exercise intensity. Given the known effects of NA in the VMH on energy metabolism, our results suggest that the increase in noradrenergic activity in the VMH is related to the enhancement of fat oxidation during exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Exercise
  • Fat oxidation
  • Microdialysis
  • Noradrenaline
  • Ventromedial hypothalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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