The Functional Roles of Steroidogenic Factor 1 in the Ventromedial Nucleus of the Hypothalamus
Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) is a nuclear receptor that plays important roles in the hypothalamic-pituitary-steroidogenic organ axis. Global knockout studies in mice revealed the essential in vivo roles of SF-1 in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH), adrenal glands, and gonads. One limitation of global SF-1 knockout mice is their early postnatal death from adrenocortical insufficiency. To overcome limitations of the global knockout mice and to delineate the roles of SF-1 in the brain, we used Cre/loxP recombination technology to genetically ablate SF-1 specifically in the central nervous system (CNS). Mice with CNS-specific knockout of SF-1 mediated by nestin-Cre showed increased anxiety-like behavior, revealing a crucial role of SF-1 in a complex behavioral phenotype. Our studies with CNS-specific SF-1 KO mice also defined roles of SF-1 in regulating the VMH expression of target genes implicated in anxiety and energy homeostasis. Therefore, present work will focus on the functional roles of SF-1 in the VMH linked to anxiety and energy homeostasis.