Neuropeptidergic regulation of adipose tissue thermogenesis and transdifferentiation

Adipose tissue is central to the control of energy homeostasis, and modulation of neuropeptidergic effects on adipose tissue represents a potential mechanism to alter this homeostasis. Of relevance to the current project, inducing a so-called brown, mitochondria-rich adipocyte phenotype may enhance energy dissipation and insulin sensitivity. The transdifferentiation into a thermogenic brown from a white adipocyte phenotype has successfully been demonstrated.

Our group has established a murine cell model that allows for the generation of immortalised brown and white adipocyte lines. This model enables us to investigate direct neuropeptidergic effects on adipocytes derived from distinct fat depots. Characterisation of adipocyte metabolic and endocrine functions employing a broad range of protein biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology techniques is well established in our laboratory. In addition, we have also developed methods to apply RNA interference in differentiating as well as in differentiated adipocytes and to characterise mitochondrial functions. This research expertise will be expanded by complementary state-of the-art techniques established at Dimitris K. Grammatopoulos’ laboratory, including high-throughput bioimaging, a platform for ultra-sensitive detection of secreted adipokines, and live-cell measurements of rates of cell proliferation and differentiation.

This project offers positions for a doctoral researcher and a medical student.


Kohlie, R., Perwitz, N., Resch, J., Schmid, S. M., Klein, J., and Iwen, A.: Dopamine directly increases mitochondrial mass and thermogenesis in brown adipocytesJ Mol Endocrinol, vol. 58, pp. 57-66, 2016, doi: 10.1530/JME-16-0159