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Role of leptin in regulation of systemic inflammation

Grant number: 16/15555-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2016
Effective date (End): November 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Immunology
Principal Investigator:Alexandre Alarcon Steiner
Grantee:Evilin Naname Komegae
Supervisor: Robin Michael McAllen
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia  
Associated to the scholarship:14/03719-9 - Role of leptin in regulation of systemic inflammation, BP.PD


As presented in the activity report, the results obtained so far not only question the prematurely accepted pro-inflammatory role of leptin, but, on the contrary, demonstrate that physiological concentrations of leptin exert anti-inflammatory effects. Our results further show that such anti-inflammatory effect does not result from a direct action of leptin on peripheral macrophages. Leptin may modulate inflammation by acting at the level of the central nervous system (CNS), but, according to our data, not by modifying the anti-inflammatory hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. These observations have led to the notion that leptin may be activating a descending neural pathway that controls inflammation. However, since the neural control of inflammation is poorly understood and there is a current controversy on the subject, studies to unravel the circuitry of the anti-inflammatory neural pathway ought to be done before the involvement of leptin in this pathway can be assessed. It is in this setting that we propose this collaborative project with Robin McAllen (University of Melbourne, Australia) with the goal of delineating the CNS circuitry that controls inflammation via sympathetic nerves, namely the splanchnic and splenic nerves. This project will lie the foundation to studies on the role of leptin as well as to many other studies. (AU)

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