Morphological differences in adipose tissue and changes in BDNF/Trkb expression in brain and gut of a diet induced obese zebrafish model
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Obesity is a multifactorial disease generated by an alteration in balance between energy intake and expenditure, also dependent on genetic and non-genetic factors. Moreover, various nuclei of the hypothalamus receive and process peripheral stimuli from the gastrointestinal tract, controlling food intake and therefore energy balance. Among anorexigenic molecules, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) acts through the tyrosine-kinase receptor TrkB. Numerous data demonstrate that the BDNF/TrkB system has a fundamental role in the control of food intake and body weight. Quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry for both BDNF and TrkB were used to determine changes in levels in the brain and gastro-intestinal tract of an experimental zebrafish model of diet-induced obesity. Overfed animals showed increased weight and body mass index as well as accumulation of adipose tissue in the visceral, subcutaneous and hepatic areas. These changes were concomitant with decreased levels of BDNF mRNA in the gastro-intestinal tract and increased expression of TrkB mRNA in the brain. Overfeeding did not change the density of cells displaying immunoreactivity for BDNF or TrkB in the brain although both were significantly diminished in the gastro-intestinal tract. These results suggest an involvement of the BDNF/TrkB system in the regulation of food intake and energy balance in zebrafish, as in mammals. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH.
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