Molecular Endocrinology

Department of Internal Medicine I

Group Members

Jens Mittag (Group leader)
Rebecca Ölkrug (Postdoc)
Riccardo Dore (Postdoc)
Sandro Catzeddu (PhD student)
Francesca Raffaelli (PhD student shared with Dr. Alexander Iwen)
Mehdi Pedaran (PhD student)
Alexander Iwen (MD, leader clinical studies)

Research Interests

Our research centers around the role of thyroid hormone in the coordination of cardiovascular parameters and thermoregulatory processes. On one hand we are interested in dissecting the role of thyroid hormone on the central control of heart rate, blood pressure and brown fat thermogenesis, with a special focus on a novel population of parvalbuminergic neurons in the anterior hypothalamus. On the other hand we investigate the direct effects of thyroid hormone and its metabolites on brown fat, heart and vasculature using for instance infrared thermography, radiotelemetry and wire myography.


  • Miguel Lopez (University of Santiago de Compostella)
  • Heike Backes (Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, Köln)
  • Lutz Schomburg, Heike Biebermann, Carolin Höfig (Charité Berlin)
  • Anders Arner (Lund University, Sweden)

Latest Publications

Jens Mittag

  1. Johann K, Cremer AL, Fischer AW, Heine M, Pensado ER, Resch J, Nock S, Virtue S, Harder L, Oelkrug R, Astiz M, Brabant G, Warner A, Vidal-Puig A, Oster H, Boelen A, Lopez M, Heeren J, Dalley JW, Backes H, Mittag J. “Thyroid Hormone Induced Browning of White Adipose Tissue Does Not Contribute to Thermogenesis and Glucose Consumption.” Cell Reports 2019, in press
  2. Harder L, Dudazy-Gralla S, Müller-Fielitz H, Leffler JH, Vennström B, Heuer H, Mittag J: “Maternal Thyroid Hormone is Required for Parvalbumin Neuron Development in the Anterior Hypothalamic Area” Journal of Neuroendocrinology 2018 Mar;30(3):e12573
  3. Oelkrug R, Herrmann B, Geissler C, Harder L, Koch C, Lehnert H, Oster H, Kirchner H, Mittag J. "Dwarfism and insulin resistance in male offspring caused by α1-adrenergic antagonism during pregnancy." Molecular Metabolism 2017 Oct;6(10):1126-1136
  4. Gachkar S, Oelkrug R, Martinez-Sanchez N, Rial-Pensado E, Warner A, Hoefig CS, López M, Mittag J. "3-Iodothyronamine Induces Tail Vasodilation Through Central Action in Male Mice." Endocrinology 2017 Jun 1;158(6):1977-1984
  5. Warner A, Rahman A, Solsjö P, Gottschling K, Davis B, Vennström B, Arner A, Mittag J: “Inappropriate heat dissipation ignites brown fat thermogenesis in mice with a mutant thyroid hormone receptor α1", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2013, Oct 1;110(40):16241-16246


Alexander Iwen

  1. Iwen KA, Oelkrug R, Brabant G. Effects of thyroid hormones on hermogenesis and energy partitioning. J Mol Endocrinol. 2018 Apr;60(3):R157-R170. doi: 10.1530/JME-17-0319. Epub 2018 Feb 6. Review. PubMed PMID: 29434028.
  2. Iwen KA, Backhaus J, Cassens M, et al. Cold-Induced Brown Adipose Tissue Activity Alters Plasma Fatty Acids and Improves Glucose Metabolism in Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 1;102(11):4226-4234. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-01250. PubMed PMID: 28945846.
  3. Kohlie R, Perwitz N, Resch J, Schmid SM, Lehnert H, Klein J, Iwen KA.  Dopamine directly increases mitochondrial mass and thermogenesis in brown adipocytes. J Mol Endocrinol. 2017 Feb;58(2):57-66. doi: 10.1530/JME-16-0159. Epub 2016 Dec 6.  PubMed PMID: 27923872.
  4. Iwen KA, Scherer T, Heni M, Sayk F, Wellnitz T, Machleidt F, Preissl H, Häring HU, Fritsche A, Lehnert H, Buettner C, Hallschmid M. Intranasal insulin suppresses systemic but not subcutaneous lipolysis in healthy humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Feb;99(2):E246-51. doi:  10.1210/jc.2013-3169. Epub 2013 Jan 1. PubMed PMID: 24423295; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3913807.