β-Arrestin-1 and β-arrestin-2 have emerged as important signaling molecules that modulate glucose fluxes in several peripheral tissues. The potential roles of neuronally expressed β-arrestins in regulating glucose homeostasis remain unknown. We here report that mice lacking β-arrestin-1 (barr1) selectively in AgRP neurons displayed impaired glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity when consuming an obesogenic diet, while mice overexpressing barr1 selectively in AgRP neurons were protected against obesity-associated metabolic impairments. Additional physiological, biochemical, and electrophysiological data indicated that the presence of barr1 is essential for insulin-mediated hyperpolarization of AgRP neurons. As a result, barr1 expressed by AgRP neurons regulates efferent neuronal pathways that suppress hepatic glucose production and promote lipolysis in adipose tissue. Mice lacking β-arrestin-2 (barr2) selectively in AgRP neurons showed no substantial metabolic phenotypes. Our data suggest that agents able to enhance the activity of barr1 in AgRP neurons may prove beneficial as antidiabetic drugs.
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