High calorie diet triggers hypothalamic angiopathy

Chun Xia Yi, Martin Gericke, Martin Krüger, Anneke Alkemade, Dhiraj G. Kabra, Sophie Hanske, Jessica Filosa, Paul Pfluger, Nathan Bingham, Stephen C. Woods, James Herman, Andries Kalsbeek, Marcus Baumann, Richard Lang, Javier E. Stern, Ingo Bechmann, Matthias H. Tschöp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and related diseases represent major health threats to modern society. Related pathophysiology of impaired neuronal function in hypothalamic control centers regulating metabolism and body weight has been dissected extensively and recent studies have started focusing on potential roles of astrocytes and microglia. The hypothalamic vascular system, however, which maintains the microenvironment necessary for appropriate neuronal function, has been largely understudied. We recently discovered that high fat/high sucrose diet exposure leads to increased hypothalamic presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG1). Investigating this phenomenon further, we have discovered a significant increase in blood vessel length and density in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus in mice fed a high fat/high sucrose diet, compared to matched controls fed standard chow diet. We also found a clearly increased presence of α-smooth muscle actin immunoreactive vessels, which are rarely present in the ARC and indicate an increase in the formation of new arterial vessels. Along the blood brain barrier, an increase of degenerated endothelial cells are observed. Moreover, such hypothalamic angiogenesis was not limited to rodent models. We also found an increase in the number of arterioles of the infundibular nucleus (the human equivalent of the mouse ARC) in patients with type 2 diabetes, suggesting angiogenesis occurs in the human hypothalamus of diabetics. Our discovery reveals novel hypothalamic pathophysiology, which is reminiscent of diabetic retinopathy and suggests a potential functional involvement of the hypothalamic vasculature in the later stage pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Blood brain barrier
  • Capillary
  • Diabetes
  • Endothelial cell
  • Fluorescent angiography
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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