Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

To maintain homeostasis, hypothalamic neurons in the arcuate nucleus must dynamically sense and integrate a multitude of peripheral signals. Blood-borne molecules must therefore be able to circumvent the tightly sealed vasculature of the blood-brain barrier to rapidly access their target neurons. However, how information encoded by circulating appetite-modifying hormones is conveyed to central hypothalamic neurons remains largely unexplored. Using in vivo multiphoton microscopy together with fluorescently labeled ligands, we demonstrate that circulating ghrelin, a versatile regulator of energy expenditure and feeding behavior, rapidly binds neurons in the vicinity of fenestrated capillaries, and that the number of labeled cell bodies varies with feeding status. Thus, by virtue of its vascular connections, the hypothalamus is able to directly sense peripheral signals, modifying energy status accordingly.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





1512 - 1517


Animals Appetite Regulation/*physiology Blood-Brain Barrier/physiology Capillary Permeability Eating/physiology Fasting/physiology Ghrelin/*blood Hypothalamus/blood supply/cytology/*physiology Male Median Eminence/blood supply/cytology/physiology Mice Mice, Inbred C57BL Mice, Transgenic Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton Models, Neurological Neurons/physiology