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  • Author: Soumyadeep Dey x
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Soumyadeep Dey, Xiaoxia Li, Ruifeng Teng, Mawadda Alnaeeli, ZhiYong Chen, Heather Rogers and Constance Tom Noguchi

The arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus is essential for metabolic homeostasis and responds to leptin by producing several neuropeptides including proopiomelanocortin (POMC). We previously reported that high-dose erythropoietin (Epo) treatment in mice while increasing hematocrit reduced body weight, fat mass, and food intake and increased energy expenditure. Moreover, we showed that mice with Epo receptor (EpoR) restricted to erythroid cells (ΔEpoRE) became obese and exhibited decreased energy expenditure. Epo/EpoR signaling was found to promote hypothalamus POMC expression independently from leptin. Herein we used WT and ΔEpoRE mice and hypothalamus-derived neural culture system to study the signaling pathways activated by Epo in POMC neurons. We show that Epo stimulation activated STAT3 signaling and upregulated POMC expression in WT neural cultures. ΔEpoRE mice hypothalamus showed reduced POMC levels and lower STAT3 phosphorylation, with and without leptin treatment, compared to in vivo and ex vivo WT controls. Collectively, these data show that Epo regulates hypothalamus POMC expression via STAT3 activation, and provide a previously unrecognized link between Epo and leptin response.