Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

UT Southwestern Researchers Uncover New Brain Pathways

Published: Saturday, July 26, 2014
Last Updated: Saturday, July 26, 2014
Bookmark and Share
New therapies for treating Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified neural pathways that increase understanding of how the brain regulates body weight, energy expenditure, and blood glucose levels - a discovery that can lead to new therapies for treating Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, found that melanocortin 4 receptors (MC4Rs) expressed by neurons that control the autonomic nervous system are key in regulating glucose metabolism and energy expenditure, said senior author Dr. Joel Elmquist, Director of the Division of Hypothalamic Research, and Professor of Internal Medicine, Pharmacology, and Psychiatry.

“A number of previous studies have demonstrated that MC4Rs are key regulators of energy expenditure and glucose homeostasis, but the key neurons required to regulate these responses were unclear,” said Dr. Elmquist, who holds the Carl H. Westcott Distinguished Chair in Medical Research, and the Maclin Family Distinguished Professorship in Medical Science, in Honor of Dr. Roy A. Brinkley. “In the current study, we found that expression of these receptors by neurons that control the sympathetic nervous system, seem to be key regulators of metabolism. In particular, these cells regulate blood glucose levels and the ability of white fat to become ‘brown or beige’ fat.”

Using mouse models, the team of researchers, including co-first authors Dr. Eric Berglund, Assistant Professor in the Advanced Imaging Research Center and Pharmacology, and Dr. Tiemin Liu, a postdoctoral research fellow in Internal Medicine, deleted MC4Rs in neurons controlling the sympathetic nervous system. This manipulation lowered energy expenditure and subsequently caused obesity and diabetes in the mice.

The finding demonstrates that MC4Rs are required to regulate glucose metabolism, energy expenditure, and body weight, including thermogenic responses to diet and exposure to cold. Understanding this pathway in greater detail may be a key to identifying the exact processes in which type 2 diabetes and obesity are developed independently of each other.

In 2006, Dr. Elmquist collaborated with Dr. Brad Lowell and his team at Harvard Medical School to discover that MC4Rs in other brain regions control food intake but not energy expenditure.

The American Diabetes Association lists Type 2 diabetes as the most common form of diabetes. The disease is characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by the body’s lack of insulin or inability to use insulin efficiently, and obesity is one of the most common causes.

Future studies by Dr. Elmquist’s team will examine how melanocortin receptors may lead to the “beiging” of white adipose tissue, a process that converts white adipose to energy-burning brown adipose tissue.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Beige Fat Formation Linked to Anti-diabetic Effect
Researchers at UTSW have found that the protein connexin 43 forms cell-to-cell communication channels on the surface of emerging beige fat cells that amplify the signals from those few nerve fibers.
Saturday, October 01, 2016
A Metabolic Twist that Drives Cancer Survival
A novel metabolic pathway that helps cancer cells thrive in conditions that are lethal to normal cells has been identified.
Friday, April 08, 2016
UT Southwestern’s Dr. Philipp Scherer Receive Banting Medal
Dr. Scherer will receive the prestigious Medal for diabetes research.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Scherer to Receive Banting Medal for Diabetes Research
Medal recognizes significant, long-term contributions to the understanding, treatment, or prevention of diabetes.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Inflammation in Fat Tissue Helps Prevent Metabolic Disease
The findings were first published online June 12 in Cell Metabolism.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Researchers Identify Key Mechanism in Metabolic Pathway that Fuels Cancers
Discovery provides potential target for defeating hard-to-treat tumors.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Researchers Identify Gene Tied to Extremely Rare Disorder that Causes Inflammation and Loss of Fat
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a gene responsible for a rare disease that results in severe joint stiffness, muscle loss, anemia and panniculitis-induced lipodystrophy, or JMP syndrome.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Circuit Regulating Anti-Diabetic Actions of Serotonin Uncovered By UT Southwestern Researchers
A brain chemical known to help regulate emotion, mood and sleep – might also have anti-diabetic properties, findings suggest.
Friday, November 12, 2010
UT Southwestern Researchers Discover Important Link Between Adrenal Gland Hormone and Brain in Hypertension
A hormone already responsible for increasing blood pressure appears as a major stimulator of the brain centers that control the vascular system.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Blood Test Could Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease, UT Southwestern Researchers Find in Statewide Study
A set of proteins found in blood serum shows promise as a sensitive and accurate way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Researchers Identify how Bone-Marrow Stem Cells Hold their 'Breath' in Low-Oxygen Environments
UT Southwestern researchers identify unique metabolic properties that allow specific stem cells to survive and replicate in low-oxygen environments.
Monday, September 06, 2010
Researchers Block Pathway that Performs Key Function in End-Stage Prostate Cancer Tumor Progression
UT Southwestern researchers find that blocking one of the enzymatic steps that allow the tumor to produce androgens could be the key in halting a tumor's growth.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Protein Must Exist in Specific Brain Cells to Prevent Diet-Induced Obesity, UT Southwestern Researchers Find
The protein named ‘longevity’ must be present in a specific set of neurons in the brain to prevent weight gain after chronic feeding on high-calorie meals.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
New Brain Nerve Cells Key to Stress Resilience, UT Southwestern Researchers Find
Researchers have found new clues that might help explain why some people are more susceptible to stress than others.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Gene Mutation is Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice, UT Southwestern Researchers Find
The study highlights the possibility that some autism-related behaviors can be reversed through drugs targeting specific brain function abnormalities.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Scientific News
Metabolite Promotes Cancer Cell Transformation
Researchers have identified a metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread.
Gut Bacteria Affect Our Metabolism
Study confirms, mice that receive gut bacteria transplants from overweight humans gain more weight than mice transplanted with gut bacteria from normal weight subjects.
The Benefits of a Mediterranean-style Diet
A Western-style diet, with more omega-6 fatty acids than the Mediterranean, dysregulates lipid signaling in aged mice and promotes inflammation.
Gut Bacteria Control Glucose Metabolism
Researchers have uncovered a link between the immune system, gut bacteria and glucose metabolism.
Peer Review is in Crisis, But Should be Fixed, Not Abolished
After the time to get the science done, peer review has become the slowest step in the process of sharing studies, and some scientists have had enough.
Plants Modulate Metabolite Accumulation at Organ Level
Scientists develop computational metabolomic approach to measure metabolic diversity in different plant tissues.
Gut Microbiome Linked to Inflammatory Proteins
Study looking at influence of genetics, microbiome and environment on immune response links intestinal microbial population to production of inflammatory proteins.
How it Works: Advanced Data Analysis Using Visualization
Visualisation of data can be used to help molecular biologists tackle the vast datasets their experiments create.
Cell Metabolism Linked to Spread of Cancer
Scientists discover macrophage metabolism can be attuned to prevent the spread of cancer.
Integrated Omics Analysis
Studying multi-omics promises to give a more holistic picture of the organism and its place in its ecosystem, however despite the complexities involved those within the field are optimistic.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!