Published on October 31, 2023   30 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Immune System - Key Concepts and Questions

Please wait while the transcript is being prepared...
Hello. My name is Ana Domingos and I am a professor of neuroscience in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics at the University of Oxford. The title of this talk is Neuroimmunometabolism.
Neuroimmunometabolism sounds a bit like a German composite word in which the words neuroscience, immunology, and metabolism are concatenated. In this intro slide, those three words are conveniently color coded, bringing to your attention, sympathetic neurons in red which are populated by immune cells in green and both of which in turn control the blue cells, which are adipocytes. Adipocytes are central to the regulation of metabolism and body weight.
What are we going to cover today? I will start with the basic concept in metabolism, for instance, how leptin regulates body weight and the primary evidence supporting that leptin effect on weight loss goes beyond suppression of food intake. I'll go over the discovery of sympathetic neurons in fat that are the efferent arm in the neuroendocrine loop of leptin action by decreasing fat mass. I'll finally introduce the concept of leptin resistance and motivate the search for biological mechanisms outside of the brain. Next, I'll delve into near immunity by guiding you through the experiments that led to the discovery of sympathetic neuron associated macrophages that we often call SAMs and how SAMs contribute to obesity by weakening the efferent arm in the neuroendocrine loop of leptin action. Finally, I will talk about potential anti-obesity drugs that capitalize on the neuroimmunometabolic concepts described in the previous sections. Namely, I'll talk about the concept of a sympathofacilitator drug class that rescues the weakened efferent arm in the neuroendocrine loop of the leptin action.