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Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Signaling in the Lateral Dorsal Tegmental Nucleus Regulates Energy Balance

Reiner, DJ;Leon, RM;McGrath, LE;Koch-Laskowski, K;Hahn, JD;Kanoski, SE;Mietlicki-Baase, EG;Hayes, MR;

The neurobiological substrates that mediate the anorectic effects of both endogenous glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and exogenous GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists are an active area of investigation. As the lateral dorsal tegmental nucleus (LDTg) expresses the GLP-1R and represents a potential neuroanatomical hub connecting the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), the major central source of GLP-1, with the other nuclei in the midbrain and forebrain, we tested the hypothesis that GLP-1R signaling in the LDTg controls food intake. Direct activation of LDTg GLP-1R suppresses food intake through a reduction in average meal size and independent of nausea/malaise. Immunohistochemical data show that GLP-1-producing neurons in the NTS project to the LDTg, providing anatomical evidence of endogenous central GLP-1 in the LDTg. Pharmacological blockade of LDTg GLP-1Rs with exendin-(9-39) dose-dependently increases food intake and attenuates the hypophagic effects of gastric distension. As GLP-1 mimetics are administered systemically in humans, we evaluated whether peripherally administered GLP-1R agonists access the LDTg to affect feeding. Immunohistochemical data show that a systemically administered fluorescent GLP-1R agonist accesses the LDTg and is juxtaposed with neurons. Additionally, blockade of LDTg GLP-1Rs attenuates the hypophagic effects of a systemic GLP-1R agonist. Together, these data indicate that LDTg GLP-1R signaling controls energy balance and underscores the role of the LDTg in integrating energy balance-relevant signals to modulate feeding.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 25 October 2017; doi:10.1038/npp.2017.225.