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Research Groups

Björn Meister, M.D., Ph.D.

Björn Meister

Meister Laboratory

Research Focus: Brain control of food intake and body weight; Identification of novel targets for the treatment of obesity

Food intake is controlled by specific neurons located in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamic neuronal networks and the transmitters/mediators regulating ingestive behaviour are poorly understood. Our research group aims at elucidating the transmitter content and specific role of hypothalamic neuronal circuitries and mediators that participate in food intake and body weight regulation.

A series of experiments have been designed, which aim at determining the neuronal circuitries and hypothalamic mechanisms by which peripheral hormones such as e.g. leptin and ghrelin control food intake. The expression of protein and transmitter mediators and microRNAs (miRNAs) is investigated in the hypothalamus in normal animals and in mouse models of genetic obesity by immunohistochemistry (confocal microscopy), Western blotting, in situ hybridization and RT-PCR. Using laser dissection microscopy and microarray, novel genes that participate in the regulation of food intake will be identified in selected neuronal populations of specific hypothalamic nuclei and regions.

Obesity is a major contributing risk factor to leading causes of death, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers. The brain's critical role in regulating energy and fat balance has in the context of body weight regulation never been more apparent. The present research project is timely right and will provide new important information on how the hypothalamus regulates food intake and weight homeostasis. The information gained from this project may be used to develop new pharmaceutical approaches for the treatment of the increasing population of obese individuals.

Selected Publications

Bäckberg M, Meister B

Abnormal cholinergic and GABAergic vascular innervation in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of obese tub/tub mice.

Synapse 52: 245-257, 2004

Bäckberg M, Madjid N, Ögren SO, Meister B

Down-regulated expression of agouti-related protein (AGRP) mRNA in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of hyperphagic and obese tub/tub mice.

Brain research. Molecular brain research 125: 129-139, 2004

Collin M, Bäckberg M, Ovesjö ML, Fisone G, Edwards RH, Fujiyama F, Meister B

Plasma membrane and vesicular glutamate transporter mRNAs/proteins in hypothalamic neurons that regulate body weight.

European Journal of Neuroscience 18: 1265-1278, 2003

Meister B, Gömüç B, Suarez E, Ishii Y, Dürr K, Gillberg L

Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons have a cholinergic phenotype.

European Journal of Neuroscience 24: 2731-2740, 2006

Meister B

Neurotransmitters in key neurons of the hypothalamus that regulate feeding behavior and body weight.

Physiology & behavior 92: 263-271, 2007

Professor Björn Meister

08-524 870 25
08-30 72 08
Department of Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet
Retzius väg 8
S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden

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