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Central nervous system control of metabolism


Although it is a widely held thought that direct hormone action on peripheral tissues is sufficient to mediate the control of nutrient handling, the role of the central nervous system in certain aspects of metabolism has long been recognized. Furthermore, recent findings have suggested a more general role for the central nervous system in metabolic control, and have revealed the importance of a number of cues and hypothalamic circuits. The brain's contributions to metabolic control are more readily revealed and play a crucial part in catabolic states or in hormone deficiencies that mimic starvation.

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Figure 1: Hypothalamic pathways in the control of metabolism.
Figure 2: Cellular signalling pathways modulated by leptin and insulin.
Figure 3: CNS melanocortin action.


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The authors thank members of the Myers and Olson laboratories for discussions and scientific insight. M.G.M. is supported by the Marilyn H. Vincent Foundation and by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

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Correspondence to Martin G. Myers Jr.

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Myers, M., Olson, D. Central nervous system control of metabolism. Nature 491, 357–363 (2012).

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