Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,700+ 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

3-D Atomic Structure of Cholesterol Transporter
Researchers at UTSW have determined the 3-D atomic structure of a human sterol transporter that helps maintain cholesterol balance.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
New $17 Million Cryo-Electron Microscope Center Provides Extraordinary Views
Institute has announced opening of a new $17 million cryo-EM facility housing a unique collection of instruments that researchers can use to view 3-D images of objects.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
New Autism Blood Biomarker Identified
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a blood biomarker that may aid in earlier diagnosis of children with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
Friday, May 06, 2016
Enzyme Link Between Excessive Heart Muscle Growth, Cancer Growth
Researchers at UTSW have found that the drugs currently used to inhibit these enzymes in cancer may also be effective in treating enlargement of the heart muscle.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Treatment of Common Prostate Cancer
Researchers at UTSW have found that the prostate cancer treatments suppress immune response and may promote relapse.
Friday, April 08, 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
Novel Metabolic Twist that Drives Cancer Survival
Researchers at CRI at UT Southwestern have identified a novel metabolic pathway that helps cancer cells thrive in conditions that are lethal to normal cells.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Structure of Crucial Enzyme Identified
Researchers at UTSW have determined the atomic structure of an enzyme that plays an essential role in cell division and better treatment of cancer.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Mutation That Causes Rare Disease
A mutation has been discovered that causes a rare systemic disorder known as XLPDR and confirmed a role for nucleic acids in immune function.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Promoting Liver Tissue Regeneration
Researchers at CRI have reported that inactivating a certain protein-coding gene promotes liver tissue regeneration in mammals.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Lupus Study Shows Precision Medicine’s Potential to Define the Genetics of Autoimmune Disease
Researchers at UT Southwestern have used next-generation DNA sequencing technology to identify more than 1,000 gene variants that affect susceptibility to SLE.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Researchers Find New Cytoplasmic Role
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found new cytoplasmic role for proteins linked to neurological diseases, cancers.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Researchers’ Work Shines LIGHT on how to Improve Cancer Immunotherapy
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have reported a strategy to make a major advancement in cancer treatment.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
UTSW Researchers Build Powerful 3-D Microscope, Create Images Of Cancer Cells
Researchers at UTSW have designed a microscope capable of creating high-resolution, 3-D images of living cancer cells in realistic and controlled microenvironments.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Pcsk9-Inhibitor Drug Class That Grew out of UTSW Research Becomes a Game-Changer for Patient
Researchers at UTSW have developed a new pcsk9-inhibitor drug class that effective in reduced the high cholesterol level.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Scientific News
Platelets are the Pathfinders for Leukocyte Extravasation During Inflammation
Findings from the study could help in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory pathologies.
ASMS 2016: Targeting Mass Spectrometry Tools for the Masses
The expanding application range of MS in life sciences, food, energy, and health sciences research was highlighted at this year's ASMS meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
Benchtop Automation Trends
Gain a better understanding of current interest in and future deployment of benchtop automated systems.
Some Women With PCOS May Have Adrenal Disorder
Researchers at NIH have found that a subgroup of women with PCOS, a leading cause of infertility, may produce excess adrenal hormones.
Alzheimer's Genetics Point To New Research Direction
A University of Adelaide analysis of genetic mutations which cause early-onset Alzheimer’s disease suggests a new focus for research into the causes of the disease.
Penn State, TB Alliance, and GSK Partner To Discover New Treatments For TB
A new collaboration between TB Alliance, GSK, and scientists in the Eberly College of Science seeks to find new small molecules that can be used to create antibiotics in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).
Manufactured Stem Cells To Advance Clinical Research
Clinical-grade cell line will enable development of new therapies and accelerate early-stage clinical research.
Faster Detection of Pathogens in the Lungs
Thanks to new molecular-based methods, mycobacterial pathogens that cause pulmonary infections or tuberculosis can now be detected much more quickly.
Contagious Cancers Are Spreading in Shellfish
Direct transmission of cancer among some marine animals may be more common than once thought, suggests a new study published in Nature by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).
Contagious Cancers Are Spreading in Shellfish
Direct transmission of cancer among some marine animals may be more common than once thought, suggests a new study published in Nature by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
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
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!