Neuroanatomical and electrophysiological studies have shown that hypothalamic POMC neurons are targets of the adipostatic hormone leptin. However, the physiological relevance of leptin signaling in these neurons has not yet been directly tested. Here, using the Cre/loxP system, we critically test the functional importance of leptin action on POMC neurons by deleting leptin receptors specifically from these cells in mice. Mice lacking leptin signaling in POMC neurons are mildly obese, hyperleptinemic, and have altered expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides. In summary, leptin receptors on POMC neurons are required but not solely responsible for leptin's regulation of body weight homeostasis.
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