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According to our matching algorithm, Andrew Lutas is the likely recipient of the following grants.
||Title / Keywords
|2011 — 2013
F31Activity Code Description:
To provide predoctoral individuals with supervised research training in specified health and health-related areas leading toward the research degree (e.g., Ph.D.).
Metabolic and Katp Channel Regulation of the Cortical Slow Oscillation
This project will examine the role of metabolically-sensitive potassium channels (KATP) in the cortex. These channels have recently been shown to regulate a cortical (<1 Hz) slow oscillation. During deep sleep stages or anesthesia, cortical neurons oscillate between two states: an up-state during which neurons are depolarized and a down-state during which neurons are hyperpolarized. Potassium channels are believed to be important for the transition to the down-state and regulating the duration of the two states. In particular, the KATP channel has been shown to be important in regulating the slow oscillation. Since KATP channels couple cellular metabolism to the electrical state of the cell, it is likely that metabolism can regulate the cortical slow oscillation. We propose to further characterize the role of KATP channels in controlling cortical network activity using an in vitro model of the slow oscillation. In aim 1, we will identify populations of cortical neurons that express functional KATP channels using patch-clamp electrophysiology strategies. In aim 2, we will characterize the ability of KATP channels to regulate the duration of up-states and down- states in mouse brain slices using pharmacological and genetic manipulation of KATP channels. In aim 3, we will determine the contribution of cellular metabolism to the regulation of the oscillation by providing different energy fuels, particularly ketone bodies that may alter KATP channel activity. These proposed studies aim to use the slow oscillation to test the ability of ketone body metabolism to alter KATP channel activity and network excitability. This work will have significant importance in understanding the role of KATP channels in the brain where they may contribute to the anticonvulsant properties of nutritional therapies for epilepsy, such as the ketogenic diet.
|2017 — 2019
F32Activity Code Description:
To provide postdoctoral research training to individuals to broaden their scientific background and extend their potential for research in specified health-related areas.
Hunger Modulation of Food Cue Responses in Amygdala by Dopamine and Ghrelin
@ Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Project Summary: Hunger biases attention to food predicating stimuli (e.g. restaurant logos) over other less relevant stimuli. In obese individuals, this biased attention to food cues persists even when individuals are no longer hungry. How attention is selectively biased to food cues in a state-dependent manner is still poorly understood. Understanding how internal signals shift attention selectively to food images is critical for determining the pathophysiology of obesity and developing new therapeutics to prevent excessive food consumption. This project will investigate the possibility that, during hunger, specific neuromodulatory signals (dopamine and ghrelin) selectively bias populations of basolateral amygdala (BLA) neurons that are important for updating the moment-to-moment value of predictive cues. Levels of dopamine rise in response to unexpected rewards and reward-predicating cues. They also vary with internal state indicating that dopaminergic projections to amygdala may modulate value processing in a state-dependent manner. In addition, during hunger, circulating levels of the stomach-derived hormone ghrelin, the only known peripheral signal that can drive feeding in animals including humans, are elevated. In addition to its behavioral effects, ghrelin injections in humans enhance responses in the cortex, amygdala, and mesolimbic dopamine areas to food images. Recent work in our lab has found that neurons in insular cortex (InsCtx), a visceral/gustatory area that is important for interoception, show biased responses to food predicting cues after learning and these biased responses are modulated by hunger. Connections between BLA and InsCtx may be important for updating the value of food cues as animals go from being hungry to sated. I will address whether dopamine and ghrelin actions in BLA can selectively bias food cue responding neurons by imaging BLA axons in InsCtx and asking the following main questions: 1) Do separate BLA neurons respond to food cues versus aversive cues 2) Does dopaminergic input to BLA gate food cue responses of BLA neurons in hungry animals 3) Are ghrelin receptor expressing (GhSR+) BLA neurons food cue biased and modulated by hunger state? To determine if subsets of BLA neurons respond to food cues versus aversive cues, I will image BLA axons in InsCtx using a microprism implanted alongside InsCtx, which allows for chronic imaging in awake, behaving mice for many weeks (Aim 1). To ask how dopamine activity affects BLA activity, I will monitor the activity of dopamine axons in BLA using fiber photometry and use chemogenetic tools to manipulate the activity of dopamine neurons (Aim 2). To test whether GhSR+ BLA neurons preferentially respond to food cues over aversive cues, I will use a novel GhSR transgenic mouse line to selectively label these neurons allowing me to identify their axons in InsCtx (Aim 3). These studies will begin to define the mechanisms underlying the hunger-dependent sensory processing ? a key step towards development of strategies to reduce overattention to unhealthy food cues.