Neurochemistry/Physiology of Proopiomelanocortin Neurons


This project studies the neurocircuitry of POMC neurons by using a combination of genetic and classical tract tracing methods to identify the source and phenotype of afferent and efferent neurons to the arcuate POMC neurons, in vivo microdialysis coupled to LC/MS to measure peptide release from POMC neurons at projection sites in response to pharmacological and physiological activation of POMC neurons, and finally analysis of the role of the dopaminergic reward system in the physiological actions of the arcuate POMC neurons. The major goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that hypothalamic POMC neurons are in synaptic contact with limbic circuit neurons, physiologically modulate their activity through the differential release of melanocortin peptides, ß-endorphin and amino acid neurotransmitters, and influence appetitive behaviors and locomotor activity related to food acquisition and consumption.

Status: Ongoing
Funding: NIH
Faculty Engagement: Robert T. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Category: Research