Researchers from George Washington University received a grant of approximately $2.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the role of forebrain and hypothalamic endoplasmic reticulum stress in obesity-induced hepatic sympathetic overactivity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease development, according to a press release.
“There’s mounting evidence that suggests [endoplasmic reticulum] stress-induced transcription factor activation is involved in the development of NAFLD,” Colin Young, PhD, from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said in the release. “We don’t yet understand the changes that occur in the nervous system, however, they are crucial in the acute and long-term regulation of liver metabolism.”
Young and colleagues’ investigation is based on previous studies that showed evidence of a correlation between the endoplasmic reticulum and the generation and maintenance of NAFLD.
The researchers will examine the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in the activation of activator protein-1 (AP-1) in hypothalamic neurons during the development of NAFLD using a combination of imaging and physiological approaches.
“To facilitate long-lasting alterations in central nervous system function, there needs to be changes in gene expression through regulation of inducible transcription factors,” Young said in the release. “Dissecting the links between [endoplasmic reticulum] stress and transcription factor activation in NAFLD development has the potential to identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment and prevention of this condition.”
The grant will fund the project through March 2023.