A genetic variant of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) exacerbates hormone-mediated orexigenic feeding in mice

Abstract

Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) degrades the endocannabinoid anandamide. A polymorphism in FAAH (FAAH C385A) reduces FAAH expression, increases anandamide levels, and increases the risk of obesity. Nevertheless, some studies have found no association between FAAH C385A and obesity. We investigated whether the environmental context governs the impact of FAAH C385A on metabolic outcomes. Using a C385A knock-in mouse model, we found that FAAH A/A mice are more susceptible to glucocorticoid-induced hyperphagia, weight gain, and activation of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK inhibition occluded the amplified hyperphagic response to glucocorticoids in FAAH A/A mice. FAAH knockdown exclusively in agouti-related protein (AgRP) neurons mimicked the exaggerated feeding response of FAAH A/A mice to glucocorticoids. FAAH A/A mice likewise presented exaggerated orexigenic responses to ghrelin, while FAAH knockdown in AgRP neurons blunted leptin anorectic responses. Together, the FAAH A/A genotype amplifies orexigenic responses and decreases anorexigenic responses, providing a putative mechanism explaining the diverging human findings.

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© Balsevich et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited. cc-by

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Citation

Balsevich, G., Petrie, G.N., Heinz, D.E., Singh, A., Aukema, R.J., Hunker, A.C., Vecchiarelli, H.A., Yau, H., Sticht, M., Thompson, R.J., Lee, F.S., Zweifel, L.S., Chelikani, P.K., Gassen, N.C., & Hill, M.N.. 2023. A genetic variant of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) exacerbates hormone-mediated orexigenic feeding in mice. eLife, 12. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.81919

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