Hypothalamic expression of the atypical chemokine receptor ACKR2 is involved in the systemic regulation of glucose tolerance.


Laboratory of Cell Signaling, University of Campinas, 13083-865 Campinas, SP, Brazil; Obesity and Comorbidities research Center, University of Campinas, 13083-865 Campinas, SP, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


In experimental obesity, the hypothalamus is affected by an inflammatory response activated by dietary saturated fats. This inflammation is triggered as early as one day after exposure to a high-fat diet, and during its progression, there is recruitment of inflammatory cells from the systemic circulation. The objective of the present study was identifying chemokines potentially involved in the development of hypothalamic diet-induced inflammation. In order to identify chemokines potentially involved in this process, we performed a real-time PCR array that determined Ackr2 as one of the transcripts undergoing differential regulation in obese-prone as compared to obese-resistant mice fed a high-fat diet for three days. ACKR2 is a decoy receptor that acts as an inhibitor of the signals generated by several CC inflammatory chemokines. Our results show that Ackr2 expression is rapidly induced after exposure to dietary fats both in obese-prone and obese-resistant mice. In immunofluorescence studies, ACKR2 was detected in hypothalamic neurons expressing POMC and NPY and also in microglia and astrocytes. The lentiviral overexpression of ACKR2 in the hypothalamus reduced diet-induced hypothalamic inflammation; however, there was no change in spontaneous caloric intake and body mass. Nevertheless, the overexpression of ACKR2 resulted in improvement of glucose tolerance, which was accompanied by reduced insulin secretion and increased whole body insulin sensitivity. Thus, ACKR2 is a decoy chemokine receptor expressed in most hypothalamic cells that is modulated by dietary intervention and acts to reduce diet-induced inflammation, leading to improved glucose tolerance due to improved insulin action.



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