Food-Gut-Brain: control of satiety and weight management

We investigate how different foods and their constituents or combinations are sensed by gut cells to then inform fullness and satiety to the brain. We are also interested in signals such as vitamin A, that drive seasonal animals to alter their body weight dramatically in response to photoperiod change, targeting those with potential relevance to human energy balance as therapeutic targets for weight loss.
 
The research should provide evidence which, after validation in human trials, may be released as advice to the general public, and/or as product formulation advice to the food or drug industry aimed at healthy weight management.

Research Focus

In our research we are investigating how different foods and their constituents inform fullness and satiety to the brain. The objectives are to identify how cells of the gut respond differently to different nutrients, so that we may be able to recommend and inform food formulations for optimal health and weight management. We are also interested in signals that drive seasonal models to alter their body weight dramatically in response to photoperiod change, since the genes involved may encode neuropeptides or receptors that have potential relevance to human energy balance and thus may be therapeutic targets for weight loss. Currently this part of our work is focussed on vitamin A signalling in the hypothalamus. We use molecular biology approaches including microarray, laser capture micro-dissection and in situ hybridization to identify target genes and exploit novel in vivo siRNA, agonist/antagonist or antibody delivery in techniques aimed at addressing functional responses.

Research team

Lynn Thomson - Research assistant
Karen Garden - Research assistant

Matthew Dalby - PhD student

Grants
  • Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) grant number BB/G014272/1 entitled: Inflammatory signals regulate neuroendocrine control of growth and energy balance through re-modelling of mammalian hypothalamus.
Publications
  • Stoney PN, Fragoso YD, Saeed RB, Ashton A, Goodman T, Simons, C, Gomaa, MS, Sementilli A, Ross AW, Morgan PJ, McCaffery PJ. 2016. Expression of the retinoic acid catabolic enzyme CYP26B1 in the human brain to maintain signaling homeostasis. Brain structure & function 221:3315-26
  • Helfer, G., Ross, AW., Thomson, LM., Mayer, CD., Stoney, PN., McCaffery, PJ. & Morgan, PJ. (2016). 'A neuroendocrine role for chemerin in hypothalamic remodelling and photoperiodic control of energy balance'. Scientific Reports, vol 6, 26830.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1038/srep26830
    [Online] AURA: srep26830.pdf
  • Adam, CL., Gratz, S., Peinado, D., Thomson, LM., Garden, KE., Williams, PA., Richardson, AJ. & Ross, AW. (2016). 'Effects of Dietary Fibre (Pectin) and/or Increased Protein (Casein or Pea) on Satiety, Body Weight, Adiposity and Caecal Fermentation in High Fat Diet-Induced Obese Rats'. PLoS ONE, vol 11, no. 5, e0155871.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155871
    [Online] AURA: journal.pone.0155871.PDF
  • Tavolaro, FM., Thomson, LM., Ross, AW., Morgan, PJ. & Helfer, G. (2015). 'Photoperiodic effects on seasonal physiology, reproductive status and hypothalamic gene expression in young male F344 rats'. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, vol 27, no. 2, pp. 79-87.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1111/jne.12241
    [Online] AURA: Tavolaro_et_al_2015.pdf
  • Adam, CL., Williams, PA., Garden, KE., Thomson, LM. & Ross, AW. (2015). 'Dose-dependent effects of a soluble dietary fibre (pectin) on food intake, adiposity, gut hypertrophy and gut satiety hormone secretion in rats'. PLoS ONE, vol 10, no. 1, 0115438.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115438
    [Online] AURA: fetchObject.pdf
  • Ross, AW., Russell, L., Helfer, G., Thomson, LM., Dalby, MJ. & Morgan, PJ. (2015). 'Photoperiod Regulates Lean Mass Accretion, but Not Adiposity, in Growing F344 Rats Fed a High Fat Diet'. PLoS ONE, vol 10, no. 3, 0119763.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119763
    [Online] AURA: Ross_PLOS_2015.pdf
    [Link] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119763
  • Adam, CL., Thomson, LM., Williams, PA. & Ross, AW. (2015). 'Soluble Fermentable Dietary Fibre (Pectin) Decreases Caloric Intake, Adiposity and Lipidaemia in High-Fat Diet-Induced Obese Rats'. PLoS ONE, vol 10, no. 10, e0140392.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140392
    [Online] AURA: journal.pone.0140392.pdf
Additional Activities

Research briefs for the Knowledge Scotland web site