Fatty acid signaling in the hypothalamus and the neural control of insulin secretion

Stéphanie Migrenne, Céline Cruciani-Guglielmacci, Ling Kang, Ruokun Wang, Claude Rouch, Anne Laure Lefèvre, Alain Ktorza, Vanessa H. Routh, Barry E. Levin, Christophe Magnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


It is now clearly demonstrated that fatty acids (FAs) may modulate neural control of energy homeostasis and specifically affect both insulin secretion and action. Indeed, pancreatic β-cells receive rich neural innervation and FAs induce important changes in autonomic nervous activity. We previously reported that chronic infusion of lipids decreased sympathetic nervous system activity and led to exaggerated glucose-induced insulin secretion (GIIS), as would be expected from the known inhibitory effect of sympathetic splanchnic nerve activity on insulin secretion. Intracarotid infusion of lipids that do not change plasma FA concentrations also lead to increased GIIS. This effect of FAs on GIIS was prevented by inhibition of β-oxidation. It is noteworthy that a single intracarotid injection of oleic acid also induced a transient increase in plasma insulin without any change in plasma glucose, suggesting that FAs per se can regulate neural control of insulin secretion. Finally, using whole cell current clamp recordings in hypothalamic slices and calcium imaging in dissociated hypothalamic neurons, we identified a hypothalamic subpopulation of neurons either excited (13%) or inhibited (6%) by FAs. Thus, FAs per se or their metabolites modulate neuronal activity, as a means of directly monitoring ongoing fuel availability by central nervous system nutrient-sensing neurons involved in the regulation of insulin secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S139-S144
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Dec 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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