PPARγ in vagal neurons regulates high-fat diet induced thermogenesis

Chen Liu, Angie L. Bookout, Syann Lee, Kai Sun, Lin Jia, Charlotte Lee, Swalpa Udit, Yingfeng Deng, Philipp E. Scherer, David J. Mangelsdorf, Laurent Gautron, Joel K. Elmquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The vagus nerve innervates visceral organs providing a link between key metabolic cues and the CNS. However, it is not clear whether vagal neurons can directly respond to changing lipid levels and whether altered "lipid sensing" by the vagus nerve regulates energy balance. In this study, we systematically profiled the expression of all known nuclear receptors in laser-captured nodose ganglion (NG) neurons. In particular, we found PPARγ expression was reduced by high-fat-diet feeding. Deletion of PPARγ in Phox2b neurons promoted HFD-induced thermogenesis that involved the reprograming of white adipocyte into a brown-like adipocyte cell fate. Finally, we showed that PPARγ in NG neurons regulates genes necessary for lipid metabolism and those that are important for synaptic transmission. Collectively, our findings provide insights into how vagal afferents survey peripheral metabolic cues and suggest that the reduction of PPARγ in NG neurons may serve as a protective mechanism against diet-induced weight gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-730
Number of pages9
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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