Knockout mice lacking steroidogenic factor 1 are a novel genetic model of hypothalamic obesity

Gregor Majdic, Morag Young, Elise Gomez-Sanchez, Paul Anderson, Libia S. Szczepaniak, Robert L. Dobbins, J. Denis McGarry, Keith L. Parker

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81 Citations (Scopus)


Knockout (KO) mice lacking steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) exhibit a phenotype that includes adrenal and gonadal agenesis, impaired gonadotropin expression, and abnormalities of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH). Studies in rodents with lesions of the ventromedial hypothalamus have implicated the VMH in body weight regulation, suggesting that SF-1 KO mice may provide a genetic model of obesity. To prevent death, SF-1 KO mice were rescued with corticosteroid injections, followed by syngeneic adrenal transplants from wild-type (WT) littermates. Corticosterone and ACTH levels in WT and SF-1 KO mice were indistinguishable, documenting restoration of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function. Although weights at earlier ages did not differ significantly from WT littermates, SF-1 KO mice were significantly heavier by 8 wk of age and eventually weighed almost twice as much as WT controls. Obesity in SF-1 KO mice predominantly resulted from decreased activity rather than increased food intake. Leptin was increased markedly, insulin was modestly elevated, and glucose was indistinguishable from WT mice. Although sex steroids in rodents affect weight, ovariectomy did not abolish the weight difference between WT and SF-1 KO mice. These SF-1 KO mice are a genetic model of late-onset obesity that may help elucidate the role of the VMH in weight regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-614
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

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