Hormones, nutrients and afferent nerve inputs that convey information about the body’s metabolic status converge to the central nervous system that integrate these signals and engage effector neurocircuits coordinating energy intake, storage and utilization to maintain energy homeostasis. Impairments in central pathways regulating energy homeostasis can cause profound metabolic dysfunctions, but current knowledge is insufficient to develop safe and efficient therapies targeting these pathways.
Brain metabolic sensing is based on the activity of specialized cell populations in the brain that can transduce hormonal and nutritional signals to drive endocrine, behavioural and autonomic output circuits regulating energy balance. The Blouet Lab employs a multi-disciplinary approach coupling calcium imaging to characterize the neurophysiology of metabolic-sensing neurons, discrete manipulations of brain neurocircuits and nutrient sensing pathways using cutting-edge molecular genetics, and refined functional assessments in behaving rodents to characterize how nutrients are detected by the brain to maintain energy homeostasis in health and disease.
Cavanaugh AR, Schwartz GJ, Blouet C. High-fat feeding impairs nutrient sensing and gut brain integration in the caudomedial nucleus of the solitary tract in mice. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 16;10(3):e0118888. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118888. PMID: 25774780. PMCID: PMC4361711
Blouet C and Gary J Schwartz. Duodenal lipid sensing activates vagal afferents to regulate non-shivering brown fat thermogenesis in rats. PLoS One, 7(12):e51898. 2012. PMID: 23251649. PMCID: PMC3522613.
Blouet C and Gary J Schwartz. Brainstem nutrient sensing in the nucleus of the solitary tract inhibits feeding. Cell Metabolism, 16(5):579-87. 2012. PMID: 23123165. PMCID: PMC3537851.
Blouet C, Liu SM, Jo YH, Chua S and Schwartz GJ. TXNIP in Agrp neurons regulates adiposity, energy expenditure and central leptin sensitivity. J Neuroscience, 32(29):9870-7. 2012. PMID: 22815502. PMCID: PMC3486516.
Blouet C and Schwartz GJ. Nutrient sensing hypothalamic TXNIP links nutrient excess to energy imbalance in mice. J Neuroscience, 31(16):6019-27. 2011.PMID: 21508227. PMCID: PMC3100164.
Blouet C, Jo YW, Li X, Schwartz GJ. Mediobasal hypothalamic leucine sensing regulates food intake through activation of a hypothalamus-brainstem circuit. J Neuroscience, 29(26):8302-11. 2009. PMID: 19571121. PMCID: PMC2740923.
Blouet C, Ono H and Schwartz GJ. Mediobasal hypothalamic p70 S6 kinase modulates the control of energy homeostasis. Cell Metabolism, 6:459-67. 2008.PMID: 19041762. PMCID: PMC2637401.