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22 Nov - "Central Neural Mechanisms to Defend Life from Environmental Stressors" Lecture by Kazuhiro Nakamura, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan

The visit of Kazuhiro Nakamura is organised in collaboration with Domenico Tupone from the Department Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences.

Nov 22, 2019 from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Where Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna (first floor)

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Anyone is surrounded by a variety of environmental stressors (ES), such as heat, cold, infection, natural enemies, and starvation. Our brain has neural circuits to defend homeostasis and life from ES. By combining in vivo physiological, neuroanatomical, and molecular biological techniques, we have sought to elucidate the central neural circuit mechanisms that defend life from ES. We have revealed central circuits transmitting thermosensory information from the skin to the hypothalamic thermoregulatory center, which then transmits command signals to thermoregulatory effectors, such as brown adipose tissue and skeletal muscles, to defend body core temperature from environmental thermal challenges. We found that this circuit mediates fever, occurring during infection, as well as sympathetic responses (hyperthermia, tachycardia, hypertension) to psychological stress when animals confront enemies. We are currently studying how emotion and psychological stress affect the homeostatic ‘vital’ system in the hypothalamus. Recently, we also discovered a neural circuit driving hunger responses to starvation–reduced heat production and promoted feeding. The central circuits to protect homeostasis and life from ES constitute the fundamental system for life functions in mammals, including humans, and the knowledge contributes to understanding the etiologies of many diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and stress symptoms.