Obesity and depression are major public health concerns, and there is increasing evidence that they share etiological mechanisms. CREB-regulated transcription coactivator 1 (CRTC1) participates in neurobiological pathways involved in both mood and energy balance regulation. Crtc1 -/- mice rapidly develop a depressive-like and obese phenotype in early adulthood, and are therefore a relevant animal model to explore possible common mechanisms underlying mood disorders and obesity. Here, the obese phenotype of male and female Crtc1 -/- mice was further characterized by investigating CRTC1's role in the homeostatic and hedonic regulation of food intake, as well as its influence on daily locomotor activity. Crtc1 -/- mice showed a strong gender difference in the homeostatic regulation of energy balance. Mutant males were hyperphagic and rapidly developed obesity on normal chow diet, whereas Crtc1 -/- females exhibited mild late-onset obesity without hyperphagia. Overeating of mutant males was accompanied by alterations in the expression of several orexigenic and anorexigenic hypothalamic genes, thus confirming a key role of CRTC1 in the central regulation of food intake. No alteration in preference and conditioned response for saccharine was observed in Crtc1 - /- mice, suggesting that mutant males' hyperphagia was not due to an altered hedonic regulation of food intake. Intriguingly, mutant males exhibited a hyperphagic behavior only during the resting (diurnal) phase of the light cycle. This abnormal feeding behavior was associated with a higher diurnal locomotor activity indicating that the lack of CRTC1 may affect circadian rhythmicity. Collectively, these findings highlight the male-specific involvement of CRTC1 in the central control of energy balance and circadian locomotor activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry