FoxO1 regulates leptin-induced mood behavior by targeting tyrosine hydroxylase

Dong Hwee Son, Khanh V. Doan, Dong Joo Yang, Ji Su Sun, Seul Ki Kim, Namju Kang, Jung Yun Kang, Ji Hye Paik, Ronald A. DePinho, Yun Hee Choi, Dong Min Shin, Ki Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: While leptin has been associated with various psycho-physiological functions, the molecular network in leptin-mediated mood regulation remains elusive. Methods: Anxiolytic behaviors and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) levels were examined after leptin administration. Functional roles of STAT3 and FoxO1 in regulation of TH expression were investigated using in vivo and in vitro systems. A series of animal behavioral tests using dopaminergic neuron-specific FoxO1 KO (FoxO1 KODAT) were performed and investigated the roles of FoxO1 in regulation of mood behaviors. Results: Here, we show that administration of leptin induces anxiolytic-like phenotype through the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and the inhibition of forkhead box protein O1 (FoxO1) in dopaminergic (DA) neurons of the midbrain. Specifically, STAT3 and FoxO1 directly bind to and exert opposing effects on tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression, where STAT3 acts as an enhancer and FoxO1 acts as a prominent repressor. Accordingly, suppression of the prominent suppressor FoxO1 by leptin strongly increased TH expression. Furthermore, our previous results showed that specific deletion of FoxO1 in DA neurons (FoxO1 KODAT) led to a profound elevation of TH activity and dopamine contents. Finally, FoxO1 KODAT mice exhibited enhanced leptin sensitivity as well as displayed reduced anxiety- and depression-like behaviors. Conclusions: This work establishes a novel molecular mechanism of mood behavior regulation by leptin and suggests FoxO1 suppression by leptin might be a key for leptin-induced behavioral manifestation in DA neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Vietnam's National Foundation for Science and Technology Development ( NAFOSTED108.05-2017.01 to K. V. D). This work was also supported by the National Research Foundation , South Korea ( 2016R1C1B3012748 to K.W·K and 2016R1A5A2008630 to D.M.S. and K.W·K) and by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute ( HI17C0745 to K.W.K.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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