Interaction of the circadian clock and the reward system in metabolic regulation

Project Description:

Internal circadian clocks synchronize physiological functions to the time of day. In our modern society with unlimited nutrient access, excess intake of palatable food is common. The vulnerability to such hedonic overconsumption shows a 24-h rhythm and, thus snack timing may affect bodyweight regulation. We hypothesize that hedonic stimuli could serve as Zeitgeber for clocks in appetite regulating centers in the brain and, further, on clocks in metabolic tissues such as adipose. Studying the mechanisms of this communication is the focus of this project.


Experimental Methods:

  • Working with genetically modified mice (knock-out mice), including breeding strategies
  • Phenotyping of mice including measurement of sleep-wake behavior, food intake, thermogenesis, energy expenditure and body weight
  • Organotypic slice cultures with long-term luminescence recordings
  • Immunohistochemical analyses
  • DNA and RNA extraction
  • PCR, qPCR, in-situ hybridization