Current data support the idea that hypothalamic neuropeptide orexin A (OxA; hypocretin 1) mediates resistance to high fat diet-induced obesity. We previously demonstrated that OxA elevates spontaneous physical activity (SPA), that rodents with high SPA have higher endogenous orexin sensitivity, and that OxA-induced SPA contributes to obesity resistance in rodents. Recent reports show that OxA can confer neuroprotection against ischemic damage, and may decrease lipid peroxidation. This is noteworthy as independent lines of evidence indicate that diets high in saturated fats can decrease SPA, increase hypothalamic apoptosis, and lead to obesity. Together data suggest OxA may protect against obesity both by inducing SPA and by modulation of anti-apoptotic mechanisms. While OxA effects on SPA are well characterized, little is known about the short- and long-term effects of hypothalamic OxA signaling on intracellular neuronal metabolic status, or the physiological relevance of such signaling to SPA. To address this issue, we evaluated the neuroprotective effects of OxA in a novel immortalized primary embryonic rat hypothalamic cell line. We demonstrate for the first time that OxA increases cell viability during hydrogen peroxide challenge, decreases hydrogen peroxide-induced lipid peroxidative stress, and decreases caspase 3/7 induced apoptosis in an in vitro hypothalamic model. Our data support the hypothesis that OxA may promote obesity resistance both by increasing SPA, and by influencing survival of OxA-responsive hypothalamic neurons. Further identification of the individual mediators of the anti-apoptotic and peroxidative effects of OxA on target neurons could lead to therapies designed to maintain elevated SPA and increase obesity resistance.
- Lipid peroxidation