IKKβ/NF-κB disrupts adult hypothalamic neural stem cells to mediate a neurodegenerative mechanism of dietary obesity and pre-diabetes

Juxue Li, Yizhe Tang, Dongsheng Cai

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193 Scopus citations


Adult neural stem cells (NSCs) are known to exist in a few regions of the brain; however, the entity and physiological/disease relevance of adult hypothalamic NSCs (htNSCs) remain unclear. This work shows that adult htNSCs are multipotent and predominantly present in the mediobasal hypothalamus of adult mice. Chronic high-fat-diet feeding led to not only depletion but also neurogenic impairment of htNSCs associated with IKKβ/NF-κB activation. In vitro htNSC models demonstrated that their survival and neurogenesis markedly decreased on IKKβ/NF-κB activation but increased on IKKβ/NF-κB inhibition, mechanistically mediated by IKKβ/NF-κB-controlled apoptosis and Notch signalling. Mouse studies revealed that htNSC-specific IKKβ/NF-κB activation led to depletion and impaired neuronal differentiation of htNSCs, and ultimately the development of obesity and pre-diabetes. In conclusion, adult htNSCs are important for the central regulation of metabolic physiology, and IKKβ/NF-κB-mediated impairment of adult htNSCs is a critical neurodegenerative mechanism for obesity and related diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1012
Number of pages14
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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