Brain-Temperature Control of Metabolic Diseases

Prof. Tamas Horvath (Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine) has been a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at the TUM-IAS. With his host, Prof. Matthias Tschöp, (Helmholtz Diabetes Center, TUM) and their TUM-IAS sponsored graduate student, Tim Gruber, they have been pursuing the role of hypothalamic neuronal circuits in regulation of system physiology.

Guided by the notion that late onset chronic diseases are the consequence of prolonged overworking of various tissues that have genetic, epigenetic or environmental vulnerabilities, they assert that it is the cellular energy metabolism of the different tissues that determines their health and longevity and consequently that of the entire organism. Based on their previous and ongoing work, they hypothesize that a small set of neurons in the hypothalamus, which produce oxytocin, acts as a crucial regulator of energy utilization by all tissues, and hence, these hypothalamic neurons determine healthy tissue function and longevity.

Studies are underway by Tim Gruber to interrogate the above hypothesis. He is utilizing state-of-the-art neurobiological tools to selectively manipulate the activity of oxytocin neurons and analyze whole animal responses to these interventions. The long-term objective of this project was to provide novel insights to brain control of systemic physiology with the anticipation of new approaches to treat chronic diseases.

TUM-IAS funded doctoral candidate:
Tim Gruber, Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, HelmholtzZentrum München