Interferon modulates glucose-sensitive neurons in the hypothalamus
Interferon-α (IFN) therapy induces feeding suppression that resembles anorexia. The hypothalamic glucose-sensitive neurons engage in feeding behavior. Coronal sections of rat brains, containing both the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), as well as single-cell recordings were used to study the interaction between IFN and glucose-sensitive neurons. IFN suppressed the majority (78%) of LH neurons, while reduction in glucose concentration elicited excitation in the majority (85%) of the same neurons. The opposite effects were observed in the VMH, where IFN excited the majority of neurons (61%), and reduction in glucose concentration exerted the opposite effects in 64% of VMH recordings. Concomitant IFN and glucose reduction exhibited only the effects elicited by IFN, regardless of whether the glucose reduction caused excitation (LH) or suppression (VMH). This observation suggests that IFN causes anorexia by modulating the LH and VMH glucose-sensitive neurons.
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