Exercise has numerous beneficial metabolic effects. The central nervous system (CNS) is critical for regulating energy balance and coordinating whole body metabolism. However, a role for the CNS in the regulation of metabolism in the context of the exercise remains less clear. Here, using genetically engineered mice we assessed the requirement of steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) expression in neurons of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH) in mediating the beneficial effects of exercise on metabolism. We found that VMH-specific deletion of SF-1 blunts (a) the reductions in fat mass, (b) improvements in glycemia, and (c) increases in energy expenditure that are associated with exercise training. Unexpectedly, we found that SF-1 deletion in the VMH attenuates metabolic responses of skeletal muscle to exercise, including induction of PGC-1α expression. Collectively, this evidence suggests that SF-1 expression in VMH neurons is required for the beneficial effects of exercise on metabolism.
Fujikawa, T., Castorena, C. M., Pearson, M., Kusminski, C. M., Ahmed, N., Battiprolu, P. K., … Elmquist, J. K. (2016). SF-1 expression in the hypothalamus is required for beneficial metabolic effects of exercise. ELife, 5(NOVEMBER2016). https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.18206