The dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) contains cholinergic motor neurons (i.e., neurons using the neurotransmitter acetylcholine) that appear to regulate liver functions. Young-Hwan Jo, Ph.D., has received a four-year, $2 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to dissect this brain-liver connection to identify potential novel therapeutic targets for treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
In previous studies, Dr. Jo and colleagues have shown that cholinergic innervation is critical for proper liver function including regulating the organ’s glucose output. In experiments involving lean and diet-induced obese mice, Dr. Jo and his team will determine whether this innervation influences whole-body energy metabolism and whether manipulating the cholinergic neuron-liver circuit could be a novel strategy for improving hepatic glucose and liver metabolism in patients with obesity and diabetes.
Dr. Jo is an associate professor of medicine and of molecular pharmacology at Einstein. (1R01DK134333-01)
Posted on: Wednesday, February 15, 2023