Ablation of Sim1 neurons causes obesity through hyperphagia and reduced energy expenditure

Dong Xi, Nilay Gandhi, Meizan Lai, Bassil M. Kublaoui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Single-minded 1 (Sim1) is a transcription factor necessary for development of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH). This nucleus is a critical regulator of appetite, energy expenditure and body weight. Previously we showed that Sim1+/- mice and conditional postnatal Sim1-/- mice exhibit hyperphagia, obesity, increased linear growth and susceptibility to diet-induced obesity, but no decrease in energy expenditure. Bilateral ablation of the PVH causes obesity due to hyperphagia and reduced energy expenditure. It remains unknown whether Sim1 neurons regulate energy expenditure. In this study, Sim1cre mice were bred to homozygous inducible diphtheria toxin receptor (iDTR) mice to generate mice expressing the simian DTR in Sim1 cells. In these mice, Sim1 neuron ablation was performed by intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of diphtheria toxin. Compared to controls, mice with Sim1 neuron ablation became obese (with increased fat mass) on a chow diet due to increased food intake and reduced energy expenditure. In post-injection mice, we observed a strong inverse correlation between the degree of obesity and hypothalamic Sim1 expression. The reduction in baseline energy expenditure observed in these mice was accompanied by a reduction in activity. This reduction in activity did not fully account for the reduced energy expenditure as these mice exhibited decreased resting energy expenditure, decreased body temperature, decreased brown adipose tissue temperature, and decreased UCP1 expression suggesting an impairment of thermogenesis. In injected mice, hypothalamic gene expression of Sim1, oxytocin (OXT) and thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) was reduced by about 50%. These results demonstrate that Sim1 neurons in adult mice regulate both food intake and energy expenditure. Based on the body of work in the field, feeding regulation by Sim1 neurons likely occurs in both the PVH and medial amygdala, in contrast to energy expenditure regulation by Sim1 neurons, which likely is localized to the PVH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere36453
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 27 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Ablation of Sim1 neurons causes obesity through hyperphagia and reduced energy expenditure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this