Now for the first time, researchers from Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, have shown that in addition to being critical for regulating thyroid hormone levels, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) neurons play a major role in the response to fasting and weight loss.
To test this function, the researchers used a chemogenetic approach (engineering of protein receptors to respond to previously unrecognized small molecules) to either stimulate or inhibit specific neuronal populations. They injected an experimental model with an adeno-associated virus (AAV) coding for a mutant receptor activated exclusively by an exogenous compound into specific areas of the brain.
By associating this procedure with genetically modified experimental models, the researchers were able to control the activity of TRH neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and of agouti-relate protein/neuropeptide Y (AgRP/NPY) neurons of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus.
“It allowed us to show that TRH neuron suppression and AgRP/NPY neuron activation play a major role in the organism’s response to negative energy balance, such as fasting,” explained corresponding author Anthony Hollenberg, MD, the John Wade Professor of Medicine and chair at the School.
According to the researchers, by controlling the activity of these neurons they were able to change the entire endocrine system related to the thyroid. “Probing deeper into these findings will lead to new knowledge with potential application to metabolic and thyroid-related diseases, such as obesity and central hypothyroidism,” adds Hollenberg, who also is physician-in-chief at Boston Medical Center.
These findings appear online in the journal Thyroid.
PackGene is a CRO & CDMO technology company that specializes in packaging recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors. Since its establishment in 2014, PackGene has been a leader in the AAV vector CRO service field, providing tens of thousands of custom batches of AAV samples to customers in over 20 countries. PackGene offers a one-stop CMC solution for the early development, pre-clinical development, clinical trials, and drug approval of rAAV vector drugs for cell and gene therapy (CGT) companies that is fast, cost-effective, high-quality, and scalable. Additionally, the company provides compliant services for the GMP-scale production of AAVs and plasmids for pharmaceutical companies, utilizing five technology platforms, including the π-Alpha™ 293 cell AAV high-yield platform and the π-Omega™ plasmid high-yield platform. PackGene’s mission is to make gene therapy affordable and accelerate the launch of innovative gene drugs. The company aims to simplify the challenging aspects of gene therapy development and industrialization processes and provide stable, efficient, and economical rAAV Fast Services to accelerate gene and cell therapy development efforts from discovery phase to commercialization.
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