Deletion of growth hormone receptor in hypothalamic neurons affects the adaptation capacity to aerobic exercise

João A B Pedroso, Lucas B P Dos Santos, Isadora C Furigo, Alexandre R Spagnol, Frederick Wasinski, Edward O List, John J Kopchick, Jose Donato

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The hypothalamus mediates important exercise-induced metabolic adaptations, possibly via hormonal signals. Hypothalamic leptin receptor (LepR)- and steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1)-expressing neurons are directly responsive to growth hormone (GH) and deletion of GH receptor (GHR) in these cells impairs neuroendocrine responses during situations of metabolic stress. In the present study, we determined whether GHR ablation in LepR- or SF1-expressing cells modifies acute and chronic metabolic adaptations to exercise. Male mice carrying deletion of GHR in LepR- or SF1-expressing cells were submitted to 8 weeks of treadmill running training. Changes in aerobic performance and exercise-induced metabolic adaptations were determined. Mice carrying GHR deletion in LepR cells showed increased aerobic performance after 8 weeks of treadmill training, whereas GHR ablation in SF1 cells prevented improvement in running capacity. Trained mice carrying GHR ablation in SF1 cells exhibited increased fat mass and reduced cross-sectional area of the gastrocnemius muscle. In contrast, deletion of GHR in LepR cells reduced fat mass and increased gastrocnemius muscle hypertrophy, energy expenditure and voluntary locomotor activity in trained mice. Although glucose tolerance was not significantly affected by targeted deletions, glycemia before and immediately after maximum running tests was altered by GHR ablation. In conclusion, GHR signaling in hypothalamic neurons regulates the adaptation capacity to aerobic exercise in a cell-specific manner. These findings suggest that GH may represent a hormonal cue that informs specific hypothalamic neurons to produce exercise-induced acute and chronic metabolic adaptations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170426
Early online date15 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


This study was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP/Brazil; Grant numbers: 16/20897-3 to F.W., 16/09679-4 to I.C.F. and 17/02983-2 to J.D.) and NIH (NIA ; grant number: R01AG059779 to E.O.L. and J.J.K.).


  • GH
  • Glycemia
  • Metabolism
  • Leptin receptor
  • Ventromedial nucleus


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