To determine the function of VGF, a secreted polypeptide that is synthesized by neurons, is abundant in the hypothalamus, and is regulated in the brain by electrical activity, injury, and the circadian clock, we generated knockout mice lacking Vgf. Homozygous mutants are small, hypermetabolic, hyperactive, and infertile, with markedly reduced leptin levels and fat stores and altered hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC), neuropeptide Y (NPY), and agouti-related peptide (AGRP) expression. Furthermore, VGF mRNA synthesis is induced in the hypothalamic arcuate nuclei of fasted normal mice. VGF therefore plays a critical role in the regulation of energy homeostasis, suggesting that the study of lean VGF mutant mice may provide insight into wasting disorders and, moreover, that pharmacological antagonism of VGF action(s) might constitute the basis for treatment of obesity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas