Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Over the past century, the hypothalamus has emerged as one of the critical sites involved in energy homeostasis. Degeneration studies in rats performed some six decades ago, first led to identifying hypothalamic subregions controlling food intake and body weight. The idea that the central nervous system (CNS), and the hypothalamus in particular, are key in metabolism regulation was reinforced by the discovery of leptin in 1994. Since the identification of leptin, enormous progress has been made in the understanding of the regulation of hypothalamic and extrahypothalamic brain regions that control food intake and energy expenditure by peripheral signals such as hormones. An important challenge is to decipher these complicated interactions between peripheral signals and neuronal circuits to better understand the etiology of metabolic disorders and to identify opportunities to intervene with pharmacological treatment. In this review, we focus on the hormonal regulation of the neuronal circuits of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus: the melanocortin system.