Brain dysfunction in insulin resistance involves impaired fueling of neuronal activity

Datum: 31.01.2024, 13:00 Uhr - 14:00 Uhr 
Ort: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom Zoom
Veranstalter: Institute of Theoretical Medicine (ITM)
Themenbereiche: Akademisches (Gesamtuniversitäres), Gesundheit und Medizin
Veranstaltungsreihe: ITM Seminar Series
Veranstaltungsart: Diskussion
Vortragende: João Duarte

João Duarte from Lund University is speaking at the ITM Seminar Series. Join the talk via zoom. Please register at for getting the zoom link.

A tentative summary of the talk


Duarte’s team investigates the impact of diabetes and metabolic syndrome factors on brain function, with a main focus on understanding the loss of brain energy metabolism regulation that is necessary for supporting synapses. Using state-of-the-art 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in vivo, we have demonstrated a tight coupling between oxidative metabolism in astrocytic mitochondria and glutamatergic neurotransmission (Sonnay et al., Glia 2018), which is crucial for brain function and memory. We have found that insulin resistance is associated to impaired glucose utilization and glutamatergic neurotransmission in neurons, while astrocytes in vivo display exacerbated oxidative metabolism and impaired glutamine synthesis (Girault et al., Neurotox Res 2019), and impaired glycogen metabolism, namely in the hippocampus that controls learning and memory (Soares et al., J Neurosci Res 2019). These results support the hypothesis that energy metabolism in astrocytes is under control of insulin and is altered early in the diabetes-associated neurodegeneration process (Duarte, Biochem Soc Trans 2023).


Recent work is directed towards detailing molecular mechanisms linking metabolic disease factors to brain metabolic alterations and loss of neuronal fueling, as well as identifying novel neuroprotection strategies. For that, in addition to biochemical and molecular biology assays, we apply pre-clinical MRS for studying brain metabolism in rodents in vivo, MRI for cerebral blood flow and functional studies, and diverse behaviour testing tools.


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