CBBM Lecture "Tanycytes: the hypothalamic hyperdrive for metabolic hormones"

by Vincent Prévot, PhD,

Inserm U1172,

University of Lille,

Development and Plasticity of the Neuroendocrine Brain

The survival of an organism relies on its ability to promptly, effectively and reproducibly communicate with brain networks that control food intake and energy homeostasis. To achieve this, circulating factors of hunger and satiety reflecting nutrient availability must cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to reach effectors neurons. A defect in this process invariably leads to uncontrolled body weight. Here I will discuss the key role played in this process by a peculiar type of glial cells named tanycytes, which have their cell bodies lining the floor of the third ventricle and their endfeet contacting the pial surface of the brain. Recent studies indeed suggest that tanycytes, besides regulating hypothalamic BBB plasticity according to nutrient status, capture metabolic signals such as leptin from the bloodstream and transport them towards their cell body for release into the cerebrospinal fluid. Blockade of this conduit for peripheral metabolic factors into the brain of obese individuals is thought to contribute to the pathophysiology of central hormonal resistance. 

Professor Prévot obtained the PhD degree in Neuroscience at the University of Lille in France where he studied the neuronal and glial plasticity in the GnRH system. He continued the study in this direction as a postdoctoral fellow at the Oregon National Primate Research Center/Oregon Health & Science University, USA. These studies have led to many seminal contributions and groundbreaking concepts in our understanding of the central control of mammalian reproduction. Following his postdoctoral training, Professor Prévot returned to France to take up a tenured Associate Researcher position at the Inserm in 2002, establishing an independent research group at Lille. In 2004, he became head of the “Development and Plasticity of the Neuroendocrine Brain” Inserm laboratory at Lille, which currently comprises 22 researchers, clinicians, postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and technicians. He was officially promoted to the rank of Research Director of Inserm (National Institute of Health and Medical Research, France) in 2009. Besides, Professor Prévot holds numerous prestigious academic appointments, e.g., Co-Director of the International Associated Laboratory NEUROEBSE, Treasurer of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and President of the French Society for Neuroendocrinology. His current research focuses on Systems Neuroscience and Neuroendocrinology, in particular the brain circuits that control reproduction and metabolism and the neural pathways through which they respond to peripheral information.

The lecture will take place on June 16, 2015 from 17:15 to 18:15 hours in Seminar Room 3b, Ground Floor, Zentralklinikum.

Host: Prof. Dr. Markus Schwaninger
Institute of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology
University of Lübeck