Photoperiodic regulation of insulin receptor mRNA and intracellular insulin signaling in the arcuate nucleus of the Siberian hamster, Phodopus sungorus

Alexander Tups, Michael Helwig, Sigrid Stoehr, Perry Barrett, Julian Mercer, Martin Klingenspor

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20 Citations (Scopus)


During the last 5 years it has been well established that photoperiod-induced changes in body weight in the seasonal hamster, Phodopus sungorus, are accompanied by a marked seasonal cycle in leptin sensitivity. In the present study, we investigated the possible involvement of insulin signaling in seasonal body weight regulation. We analyzed the expression pattern and relative intensity of insulin receptor (IR), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase), and protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) mRNAs by in situ hybridization in the brains of juvenile female hamsters acclimated to either long- ( LD) or short-day length (SD) for 8 wk, with or without superimposed food deprivation for 48 h. Furthermore, the hypothalamic concentration and distribution of phospho-AKT, a marker of PI3-kinase activity was determined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. Eight weeks of acclimation to SD led to a substantial downregulation of IR, PTP1B gene expression, and phospho-AKT concentration in this brain region, whereas PI3-kinase mRNA was unchanged. Food deprivation induced a decrease in PTP1B and a trend toward lowered IR gene expression in LD but not in SD. Additionally, a striking increase in PTP1B gene expression in the thalamus was observed after food deprivation in both photoperiods. The direction of change in neuronal insulin signaling contrasts to the central catabolic nature of this pathway described in other species. SD-induced reduction in insulin signaling may be due to decline in body fat stores mediated by enhanced central leptin sensitivity. Increased anorexigenic tone of leptin may overwrite central insulin signaling to prevent catabolic overdrive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R643-R650
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


  • protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B
  • body weight regulation
  • hypothalamus
  • thalamus
  • body-weight
  • gene-expression
  • brain insulin
  • phosphatidylinosIitol 3-kinase
  • Djungarian hamster
  • leptin sensitivity
  • food-intake
  • cell-line
  • protein
  • mice


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