Project: Research project

Project Details


The goal of this research is to determine the basic neuroreceptor signaling
processes of nutrient homeostasis mediated by the nucleus of the solitary
tract (NTS) for coordinating neural and humoral nutrient-related signals
with the consequent production of appropriate autonomic and
viscerobehavioral response patterns. Our general hypothesis is that the
integration of nutrient-related information and the coordination of
autonomic response patterns by the NTS occurs at both the afferent and
efferent limbs of the neural organizational network mediating ingestive
behavior, nutrient homeostasis and metabolic regulation. Our general
hypothesis exploits the observation that the NTS is not only the principal
recipient site in the CNS of first-order afferent input from the vast array
of visceral sensory receptors involved in nutrient homeostasis, but the NTS
also has extensive direct reciprocal connections with virtually all
structures at every level of the neural axis involved in nutrient
homeostasis, metabolic regulation and ingestive behavior. Thus, the
specific aim of the proposed research is to determine the neuroreceptor
signaling processes by which the NTS subserves the following multiple roles
in nutrient homeostasis: (1) a chemosensory role for nutrient-related
signals in the blood or CSF: (2) an integrative role for coordinating
visceral sensations transmitted to the NTS mainly via the vagus nerve: (3)
a major role as an autonomic control center in the brainstem for the
production of "short-loop" homeostatic response patterns and (4) an
effector role for some components of ingestive behavior. The overall
research strategy employs two dimensions of experimental analysis which can
be powerfully coordinated: (1) analysis at the tissue level - in vitro
studies with the NTS slice preparation to examine the modulation of
monoamine release by nutrient-related signaling substances including
transmitters., hormones, nutrients and neuropeptides and (2) analysis at
the physiological systems level - in vivo microinjection studies in the NTS
to examine the modulation of viscerohumoral and autonomic response patterns
elicited by application of nutrient-related signaling substances. These
studies will provide an integrated, multidisciplinary spectrum of research
experiences and research training opportunities in the neurosciences for
MBRS student participants at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Students will participate in all aspects of the research and contribute to
an overall understanding of NTS-mediated mechanisms of nutrient
StatusNot started