Endocrine Neurobiology

Group 21
Leader: Zsolt Liposits

Neuroendocrine research of this Laboratory utilizes in vivo (rodents) and in vitro (cell lines, tissue slices) model systems and post-mortem human brain tissues. Information from studies using anatomical (immunocytochemistry, electron microscopy, in situ hybridization) electrophysiological (patch clamp) and molecular approaches (recombinant technologies, microarray, RT-qPCR technique) are combined to study the central regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and genomic/non-genomic actions of sex steroid hormones in the brain. A major area of research is aimed at deciphering the receptorial and molecular mechanisms of estrogen actions in the central nervous system, with special respect to the hormonal and neuronal regulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons and the mechanisms of positive and negative estrogen feedback to these cells. This research activity extends to the investigation of further estrogen-receptive neuronal systems and estrogen-regulated transcripts in rodent and human brains, studying predominantly the frontal cortex and the hippocampus. An important achievement in this field was the first proof that GnRH neurons are estrogen receptive via ER-beta, a finding also confirmed in the human. Another emerging research subfield derives from the recent detection of the glutamatergic marker, VGLUT2 in GnRH neurons of the rat. Anatomical and electrophysiological approaches were used to establish that GnRH neurons produce endocannabinoids and nitric oxide which are used as retrograde messengers to modulate the afferent GABAergic drive onto these cells. The most recent results of the group indicate that GnRH neurons are capable of directly sensing a variety of metabolic cues (ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1) and binding of these hormones to their specific receptors in GnRH neurons activates retrograde signaling mechanisms to their afferents. Additional studies carried out in collaboration with European research groups address the role of hypothalamic and limbic centers of humans and rodents in the regulation of feeding.

Excerpt from the Guidebook of the Institute 2015.

Lab members:

Imre KallóPostdoctoral Scientist
Zsolt LipositsScientific Advisor, Group Leader, Head of Department
Márta TurekTechnician
Csaba VastaghPostdoctoral Scientist
Veronika CsillagPhD Student