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Researchers identify molecule that connects cognitive performance to metabolism

Marc Claret, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB and head of the IDIBAPS Neuronal Control of Metabolism Group, and Sara Ramírez, postdoctoral researcher of the mentioned group.

Marc Claret, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB and head of the IDIBAPS Neuronal Control of Metabolism Group, and Sara Ramírez, postdoctoral researcher of the mentioned group.

07/02/2022

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Obesity or diabetes, among other metabolic disorders, can produce cognitive impairment. Molecular bases and brain areas involved in this relation are not studied enough, but now, a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism reveals the involvement of a molecule and a brain region in this process of cognitive skill loss. Specifically, the decrease of the neurosteroid pregnenolone in the hypothalamus due to the presence of a metabolic disease causes cognitive impairment, both in animal models and in people.

The study has been coordinated by Marc Claret, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB and head of the IDIBAPS Neuronal Control of Metabolism Group. Its first signatory is Sara Ramírez, postdoctoral researcher of the mentioned group. The study counts on the participation of other members of the University of Barcelona, Clínic-IDIBAPS, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Mack Planck Institute for Metabolism Research (Germany).

“Our objective was to confirm the existing relationship between metabolism and cognition, as well as analysing whether specific populations of neurons in areas related to the metabolic control —such as POMC neurons in the hypothalamus— could be involved”, says Marc Claret, member of the Department of Medicine at the UB and the Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERDEM). In this context, defining molecules or metabolites involved in this process could contribute to the design of future treatments.

 

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