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BNA 2023 | Anti-obesity drugs increase adult neurogenesis in the hypothalamus

David Petrik, PhD, from the University of Cardiff, Cardiff, UK, presents on the role of adult neurogenesis in regulating energy homeostasis. Adult neurogenesis, discovered in the 1960s and confirmed in mammals in the 1980s, was initially thought to occur only in the hippocampus and subventricular zone (SVZ). However, it was later found that new neurons also form in the hypothalamus, a region crucial for regulating energy homeostasis. Dr Petrik and his team aim to investigate whether anti-obesity compounds can modulate adult neurogenesis in the hypothalamus, potentially offering a pharmacotherapeutic target for combating obesity. His team discovered that the anorexigenic neuropeptide prolactin-releasing peptide (PRP), when modified with palmatoyl, influenced stem cell proliferation and promoted the generation of new neurons in the mouse hypothalamus. Furthering this line of investigation, it was also observed that activation of hypothalamic iPSC-derived human neurons occurred upon treatment with the compound. Dr Petrik highlights future objectives, including identifying the specific neuronal subtypes targeted by the compound and studying the entry of other anti-obesity compounds into the hypothalamus from the periphery. This interview took place at The BNA 2023 International Festival of Neuroscience in Brighton, UK.

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