Transgenic expression of syndecan-1 uncovers a physiological control of feeding behavior by syndecan-3

Ofer Reizes, John Lincecum, Zihua Wang, Olga Goldberger, Li Huang, Marko Kaksonen, Rexford Ahima, Michael T. Hinkes, Gregory S. Barsh, Heikki Rauvala, Merton Bernfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Transgenic expression in the hypothalamus of syndecan-1, a cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) and modulator of ligand-receptor encounters, produces mice with hyperphagia and maturity-onset obesity resembling mice with reduced action of α melanocyte stimulating hormone (αMSH). Via their HS chains, syndecans potentiate the action of agouti-related protein and agouti signaling protein, endogenous inhibitors of αMSH. In wild-type mice, syndecan-3, the predominantly neural syndecan, is expressed in hypothalamic regions that control energy balance. Food deprivation increases hypothalamic syndecan-3 levels several-fold. Syndecan-3 null mice, otherwise apparently normal, respond to food deprivation with markedly reduced reflex hyperphagia. We propose that oscillation of hypothalamic syndecan-3 levels physiologically modulates feeding behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 13 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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