In 2004, two seminal papers focused on the role of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the hypothalamus opened new avenues of research in the field of the central regulation of energy homeostasis. Over the following 8 years, hundreds of studies have firmly established hypothalamic AMPK as a key sensor and integrator of hormonal and nutritional signals with neurochemical and neurophysiological responses to regulate whole-body energy balance. In this review article we aim to discuss the most recent findings in this particular area of research, highlighting the function of hypothalamic AMPK in appetite, thermogenesis, and peripheral glucose metabolism. The diversity of mechanisms by which hypothalamic AMPK regulates energy homeostasis illustrates the importance of this evolutionary-conserved energy signaling cascade in the control of this complex and fundamental biological process.
Keywords: AMPK, hypothalamus, appetite, thermogenesis, obesity, glucose metabolism, energy balance
Citation: Schneeberger M and Claret M (2012) Recent insights into the role of hypothalamic AMPK signaling cascade upon metabolic control. Front. Neurosci. 6:185. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00185
Received: 22 October 2012; Paper pending published: 14 November 2012;
Accepted: 04 December 2012; Published online: 20 December 2012.
Edited by:Kevin W. Williams, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA
Reviewed by:Miguel Lopez, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Copyright: © 2012 Schneeberger and Claret. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Marc Claret, Diabetes and Obesity Laboratory, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Centre Esther Koplowitz, Rosselló 149-153, Barcelona 08036, Spain. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org