Gqα/G11α deficiency in dorsomedial hypothalamus leads to obesity resulting from decreased energy expenditure and impaired sympathetic nerve activity

Eric A. Wilson, Hui Sun, Zhenzhong Cui, Marshal T. Jahnke, Mritunjay Pandey, Peter Metzger, Oksana Gavrilova, Min Chen, Lee S. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The G-protein subunits Gqa and G11a (Gq/11a) couple receptors to phospholipase C, leading to increased intracellular calcium. In this study we investigated the consequences of Gq/11a deficiency in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH), a critical site for the control of energy homeostasis. Mice with DMH-specific deletion of Gq/11a (DMHGq/11KO) were generated by stereotaxic injection of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-Cre-green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the DMH of Gqaflox/flox:G11a-/- mice. Compared with control mice that received DMH injection of AAV-GFP, DMHGq/11KO mice developed obesity associated with reduced energy expenditure without significant changes in food intake or physical activity. DMHGq/11KO mice showed no defects in the ability of the melanocortin agonist melanotan II to acutely stimulate energy expenditure or to inhibit food intake. At room temperature (22°C), DMHGq/11KO mice showed reduced sympathetic nervous system activity in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and heart, accompanied with decreased basal BAT uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) gene expression and lower heart rates. These mice were cold intolerant when acutely exposed to cold (6°C for 5 h) and had decreased cold-stimulated BAT Ucp1 gene expression. DMHGq/11KO mice also failed to adapt to gradually declining ambient temperatures and to develop adipocyte browning in inguinal white adipose tissue although their BAT Ucp1 was proportionally stimulated. Consistent with impaired cold-induced thermogenesis, the onset of obesity in DMHGq/11KO mice was significantly delayed when housed under thermoneutral conditions (30_C). Thus our results show that Gqa and G11a in the DMH are required for the control of energy homeostasis by stimulating energy expenditure and thermoregulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E270-E280
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Physiological Society. All rights reserved.


  • G proteins
  • Hypothalamus
  • Obesity
  • Thermogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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