Involvement of doublecortin-expressing cells in the arcuate nucleus in body weight regulation

Lars Werner, Helge Mul̈ler-Fielitz, Manuela Ritzal, Tim Werner, Moritz Rossner, Markus Schwaninger*

*Corresponding author for this work
14 Citations (Scopus)


Hypothalamic functions, including feeding behavior, show a high degree of plasticity throughout life. Doublecortin (DCX) is a marker of plasticity and neuronal migration expressed in the hypothalamus. Therefore, we wanted to map the fate of DCX + cells in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus. For this purpose, we generated a BAC transgenic mouse line that expresses the inducible recombinase CreERT2 under control of the DCX locus. Crossing this line with the Rosa26 or Ai14 reporter mouse lines, we found reporter + cells in the ARC upon tamoxifen treatment. They were born prenatally and expressed both DCX and the plasticity marker TUC-4. Immediately after labeling, reporter + cells had an enlarged soma that normalized over time, suggesting morphological remodeling. Reporter + cells expressed β-endorphin and BSX, neuronal markers of the feeding circuit. Furthermore, leptin treatment led to phosphorylation of STAT3 in reporter + cells in accordance with the concept that they are part of the feeding circuits. Indeed, we found a negative correlation between the number of reporter + cells and body weight and epididymal fat pads. Our data suggest that DCX + cells in the ARC represent a cellular correlate of plasticity that is involved in controlling energy balance in adult mice.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)2655-2664
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2012


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