Team 'Energy balance and obesity', manager: Daniela Cota, MD.
Obesity is a major health problem worldwide. However, despite the human and economic costs of this disease, efficient anti-obesity therapies are currently lacking.
One of the avenues that might lead to gain significant insights into the causes and potential treatments of obesity is the unravelling of the biological mechanisms regulating energy balance. Integrative systems and specific fuel sensing pathways are among the mechanisms known to control energy balance. Therefore, our past 4 years of research activity has been committed to studying in an integrated way both integrative systems and specific fuel sensing pathways. In particular, among the integrative systems, we have investigated the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) and, among the fuel sensing mechanisms, we have studied the mammalian Target Of Rapamycin complex 1 (mTORc1) cascade. Our studies on the ECS have helped to further detail the role of this system in energy balance by showing that while food intake and energy expenditure are controlled by cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) located in the central nervous system, the equilibrium between energy storage and utilization is mediated by a direct action of CB1 on peripheral tissues. At the same time, our ground-breaking studies on the mTORc1 pathway have been the first to demonstrate that mTORc1 is a critical integrator of the effects of hormones and nutrients on food intake, and that the dysregulation of this pathway favours obesity.
In conclusion, our research activity has significantly contributed to extend our understanding of how integrative systems and intracellular fuel sensing mechanisms control energy balance and contribute to the development of obesity. Such studies therefore constitute a solid background on which we plan to develop our future research project.
Composition table of the team
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