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Keywords:

  • nesfatin-1;
  • insulin;
  • 2-deoxyglucose;
  • hypoglycaemia;
  • c-Fos

Nesfatin-1 is a recently identified 82 amino acid peptide shown to have an anorexigenic effect on rodents when administrered centrally and peripherally. Nesfatin-1 is expressed not only in neurones of various brain areas, including the hypothalamic and brainstem nuclei, but also in peripheral organs, such as the stomach and the pancreas. Nesfatinergic neurones were reported to participate in the regulation of satiety signals and in the responses to other stimuli, including restraint stress, abdominal surgery, and lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation. The present study aimed to investigate whether NUCB2/nesfatin-1 expressing neurones also take part in the central signalling activated in response to hypoglycaemia and therefore are involved in central glucose sensing. Using immunolabelling methods based on the detection of the neuronal activation marker c-Fos and of nesfatin-1, we showed that peripheral injection of insulin induced a strong activation of nesfatin-1-expressing neurones in the brain vagal-regulatory nuclei, including the arcuate nucleus, paraventricular nucleus, lateral hypothalamic area, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMNX) and nucleus of the tractus solitarius. In response to intracellular glucopaenia induced by i.p. or i.c.v. 2-deoxyglucose injection, the c-Fos/nesfatin-1 colocalisations observed at the hypothalamic and brainstem levels were similar to those observed after insulin-induced hypoglycaemia. Moreover, using Fluorogold as a retrograde tracer, we showed that nesfatinergic preganglionic DMNX neurones activated by hypoglycaemia target the stomach and the pancreas. Taken together, these results suggest that a subpopulation of nesfatinergic neurones belongs to the central network activated by hypoglycaemia, and that nesfatin-1 participates in the triggering of physiological and hormonal counter-regulations observed in response to hypoglycaemia.