A discrete parasubthalamic nucleus subpopulation plays a critical role in appetite suppression

  1. Jessica H Kim
  2. Grace H Kromm
  3. Olivia K Barnhill
  4. Jacob Sperber
  5. Lauren B Heuer
  6. Sierra Loomis
  7. Matthew C Newman
  8. Kenneth Han
  9. Faris F Gulamali
  10. Theresa B Legan
  11. Katharine E Jensen
  12. Samuel C Funderburk
  13. Michael J Krashes
  14. Matthew E Carter  Is a corresponding author
  1. Williams College, United States
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, United States

Abstract

Food intake behavior is regulated by a network of appetite-inducing and appetite-suppressing neuronal populations throughout the brain. The parasubthalamic nucleus (PSTN), a relatively unexplored population of neurons in the posterior hypothalamus, has been hypothesized to regulate appetite due to its connectivity with other anorexigenic neuronal populations and because these neurons express Fos, a marker of neuronal activation, following a meal. However, the individual cell types that make up the PSTN are not well characterized, nor are their functional roles in food intake behavior. Here we identify and distinguish between two discrete PSTN subpopulations, those that express tachykinin-1 (PSTNTac1 neurons) and those that express corticotropin-releasing hormone (PSTNCRH neurons), and use a panel of genetically encoded tools in mice to show that PSTNTac1 neurons play an important role in appetite suppression. Both subpopulations increase activity following a meal and in response to administration of the anorexigenic hormones amylin, cholecystokinin (CCK), and peptide YY (PYY). Interestingly, chemogenetic inhibition of PSTNTac1, but not PSTNCRH neurons, reduces the appetite-suppressing effects of these hormones. Consistently, optogenetic and chemogenetic stimulation of PSTNTac1 neurons, but not PSTNCRH neurons, reduces food intake in hungry mice. PSTNTac1 and PSTNCRH neurons project to distinct downstream brain regions, and stimulation of PSTNTac1 projections to individual anorexigenic populations reduces food consumption. Taken together, these results reveal the functional properties and projection patterns of distinct PSTN cell types and demonstrate an anorexigenic role for PSTNTac1 neurons in the hormonal and central regulation of appetite.

Data availability

Source Data files have been provided for Figures 2-6 and 8 (Figures 1 and 7 do not contain quantitative data). These files contain the numerical data used to generate figures and analyze data. Supplementary File 1 contains a complete description of all statistical tests used, methods of multiple comparisons, and critical values for n, p, and degrees of freedom. All MatLab scripts used to analyze fiber photometry data are freely available at https://github.com/MattCarter-WilliamsCollege/FiberPhotometryCode.git.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jessica H Kim

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Grace H Kromm

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0847-5468
  3. Olivia K Barnhill

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Jacob Sperber

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Lauren B Heuer

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Sierra Loomis

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Matthew C Newman

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Kenneth Han

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  9. Faris F Gulamali

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-2973-6594
  10. Theresa B Legan

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  11. Katharine E Jensen

    Department of Physics, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1862-8026
  12. Samuel C Funderburk

    Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5146-2035
  13. Michael J Krashes

    3Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0966-3401
  14. Matthew E Carter

    Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, United States
    For correspondence
    mc10@williams.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1802-090X

Funding

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R15 DK105510)

  • Matthew E Carter

National Science Foundation (IOS 1652060)

  • Matthew E Carter

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All experiments in this study were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Williams College (protocol #CM-A-19). All experiments were performed in strict accordance with the guidelines described in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All surgery was performed under isoflurane anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering and animal distress.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Joel K Elmquist, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: November 10, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: November 11, 2021 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: May 3, 2022
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: May 4, 2022 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: May 19, 2022 (version 2)

Copyright

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Metrics

  • 1,722
    Page views
  • 386
    Downloads
  • 2
    Citations

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Jessica H Kim
  2. Grace H Kromm
  3. Olivia K Barnhill
  4. Jacob Sperber
  5. Lauren B Heuer
  6. Sierra Loomis
  7. Matthew C Newman
  8. Kenneth Han
  9. Faris F Gulamali
  10. Theresa B Legan
  11. Katharine E Jensen
  12. Samuel C Funderburk
  13. Michael J Krashes
  14. Matthew E Carter
(2022)
A discrete parasubthalamic nucleus subpopulation plays a critical role in appetite suppression
eLife 11:e75470.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.75470
  1. Further reading

Further reading

    1. Neuroscience
    Andrew P Davison, Shailesh Appukuttan
    Insight

    Artificial neural networks could pave the way for efficiently simulating large-scale models of neuronal networks in the nervous system.

    1. Neuroscience
    Jonathan Nicholas, Nathaniel D Daw, Daphna Shohamy
    Research Article

    A key question in decision making is how humans arbitrate between competing learning and memory systems to maximize reward. We address this question by probing the balance between the effects, on choice, of incremental trial-and-error learning versus episodic memories of individual events. Although a rich literature has studied incremental learning in isolation, the role of episodic memory in decision making has only recently drawn focus, and little research disentangles their separate contributions. We hypothesized that the brain arbitrates rationally between these two systems, relying on each in circumstances to which it is most suited, as indicated by uncertainty. We tested this hypothesis by directly contrasting contributions of episodic and incremental influence to decisions, while manipulating the relative uncertainty of incremental learning using a well-established manipulation of reward volatility. Across two large, independent samples of young adults, participants traded these influences off rationally, depending more on episodic information when incremental summaries were more uncertain. These results support the proposal that the brain optimizes the balance between different forms of learning and memory according to their relative uncertainties and elucidate the circumstances under which episodic memory informs decisions.