Kettle - Autonomic and central nervous system regulation of metabolism

Lab leader

Christine KettleDr Christine Kettle

Lecturer, College of Science, Health and Engineering

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Our lab examines the underlying neurobiology and neurochemistry that underlies the physiology of metabolism. In 2009 our understanding of metabolism in humans was transformed by the discovery that a significant amount of brown adipose tissue is found in adult humans. Brown adipose tissue is important as it is specialized for wasting stored energy (body fat) as heat. There is an inverse correlation between the amount of brown adipose tissue a person has and the likelihood of the development of obesity. Further, activation of brown adipose has been shown to have positive effects on glucose sensitivity (i.e. an anti-diabetic effect).

Brown adipose tissue activation has also been implicated in cancer cachexia and stress and anxiety, suggesting that understanding the regulatory mechanism that underlies brown adipose tissue has significant impact on the health care of individuals with these conditions.

We are currently developing techniques for measuring brown adipose tissue activity in humans to complement our basic research.

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