Metabolic Information Highway

Science's STKE  20 Jun 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 340, pp. tw210
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3402006tw210

The several distinct tissues that contribute to the maintenance of energy balance in mammals must somehow communicate with one another. For example, the liver sends metabolic signals to peripheral adipose tissue, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Studying a mouse model, Uno et al. found that these tissues communicate by means of a neuronal pathway consisting of the afferent vagus nerve from the liver and efferent sympathetic nerves to adipose tissues. This pathway is involved in the regulation of energy expenditure, systemic insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and fat distribution between the liver and periphery, and it may also help protect the animal from the metabolic disturbances that are set in motion by excess fat storage.

K. Uno, K. Katagiri, T. Yamada, Y. Ishigaki, T. Ogihara, J. Imai, Y. Hasegawa, J. Gao, K. Kaneko, H. Iwasaki, H. Ishihara, H. Sasano, K. Inukai, H. Mizuguchi, T. Asano, M. Shiota, M. Nakazato, Y. Oka, Neuronal pathway from the liver modulates energy expenditure and systemic insulin sensitivity. Science 312, 1656-1659 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]