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Status: 23.01.2018 11:08:43
Investigation of molecular mechanisms of hormone regulation via the central nervous system and its effect on metabolism and behavior
The central nervous system (CNS) plays a key role in regulating energy homeostasis, which is the balance of energy intake and energy expenditure. Recent data show that receptors for the fat-derived hormone leptin and the pancreas-secreted hormone insulin are present in the brain. Thus, both hormones are able to regulate metabolism via the CNS. These pathways are dysregulated in metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, leading to obesity and behavioral disorders such as depression. In addition, studies in human patients have shown an association between type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer´s and Parkinson´s disease. Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating these hormonal signaling cascades is crucial to elucidate their effects on metabolism and brain function in order to develop new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of metabolic disorders.
The objective of the group is to gain new insights into the interplay of nutrients and hormonal regulation of signaling cascades in the brain. The group aims to understand the mechanisms of central insulin and leptin resistance and their effects on energy homeostasis and behavior. In vitro and in vivo models are used to examine causes of central insulin and leptin resistance which are associated with type 2 diabetes and neurological diseases. The group has a special interest in:
• The interplay between mitochondrial function and insulin and leptin signaling
• The regulation of cellular stress responses
• The relation between metabolic disorders and aging processes, such as alterations in cognition