Maia Kokoeva, PhD
obesity • diabetes • hypothalamus • NG2-glia • neuroendocrinology
My research focuses on how generating new cells in the adult brain can influence body weight. We have previously shown that treatment with a particular anti-obesity drug, ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), initiates large-scale birthing of new cells in the hypothalamus, a brain area that plays a key role in feeding control. We also have demonstrated that cells proliferate on an ongoing basis in the adult hypothalamus, even in the absence of external cues such as growth factor administration. We are currently investigating the role of these constitutively born cells in energy homeostasis by employing in vivo cell ablation approaches in conjunction with electrophysiological and ultrastructural studies. The long-term goal of my lab is to mechanistically understand why some humans can maintain their body weight throughout most of their adult lives while others are confronted with gradual or abrupt increases in fat mass. Our studies may thus provide new insight into the etiology of obesity, and may ultimately help develop new strategies for the prevention and treatment of obesity-related diseases.
Robins SC, Trudel E, Rotondia O, Liu X, Djogo T, Kryzskaya D, Bourque CW, & Kokoeva MV "Evidence for NG2-glia derived, adult-born functional neurons in the hypothalamus " PLoS ONE, 8:e78236. (2013)
Robins SC, Villemain A, Liu X, Djogo T, Kryzskaya D, Storch K-F, & Kokoeva MV "Extensive regenerative plasticity among adult NG2-glia populations is exclusively based on self-renewal" Glia, 10:1735-47. (2013)
Robins SC, Stewart I, McNay D, Taylor V, Götz M, Ninkovic J, Briancon N, Maratos-Flier E, Flier JS, Kokoeva MV, & Placzek M. "Alpha-tanycytes of the hypothalamic third ventricle include distinct populations of FGF-responsive neural progenitors" Nat. Comm. 27;4:2049 (2013)
Kokoeva MV, Yin H, Flier JS. Evidence for constitutive neural cell proliferation in the adult murine hypothalamus. J. Comp. Neurol. 505: 209-220 (2007)
Kokoeva MV, Yin H, Flier JS. Neurogenesis in the hypothalamus of adult mice: potential role in energy balance. Science, 310: 679-83 (2005)