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Science 310 (5748): 679-683

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Neurogenesis in the Hypothalamus of Adult Mice: Potential Role in Energy Balance

Maia V. Kokoeva, Huali Yin, Jeffrey S. Flier*

Abstract: Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) induces weight loss in obese rodents and humans, and for reasons that are not understood, its effects persist after the cessation of treatment. Here we demonstrate that centrally administered CNTF induces cell proliferation in feeding centers of the murine hypothalamus. Many of the newborn cells express neuronal markers and show functional phenotypes relevant for energy-balance control, including a capacity for leptin-induced phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Coadministration of the mitotic blocker cytosine-ß-D-arabinofuranoside (Ara-C) eliminates the proliferation of neural cells and abrogates the long-term, but not the short-term, effect of CNTF on body weight. These findings link the sustained effect of CNTF on energy balance to hypothalamic neurogenesis and suggest that regulated hypothalamic neurogenesis in adult mice may play a previously unappreciated role in physiology and disease.

Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 99 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jflier{at}

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