Gut-Brain signalling in the Holst Group

The Holst group focuses on the gut-brain communication axis, particularly on the hormones ghrelin, Neurotensin PYY and GLP-1 and the corresponding receptors involved in the controlling of food intake and energy expenditure.

Research focus

The Holst Group focuses on hormones such as ghrelin, Neurotensin PYY and GLP-1 and the corresponding receptors involved in the gut brain communication axis controlling food intake and energy expenditure.

We study hormone interaction with the homeostatic appetite regulating center in hypothalamus, and with the central reward systems, control of the endocrine pancreas and in adipocyte metabolism. In addition, we investigate how nutrient metabolism in the hypothalamus is regulating both appetite and peripheral glucose metabolism.

Main findings

“PICK1 deficiency impairs secretory vesicle biogenesis and leads to growth retardation and decreased glucose tolerance”
Published in PLOS Biology in 2013 this study suggests that protein interacting with C kinase 1 (PICK1), together with BAR domain protein ICA69, is critical during budding of immature secretory vesicles from the trans-Golgi network and thus for vesicular storage of growth hormone and possibly other hormones.

“Effects of Peripheral Neurotensin on Appetite Regulation and Its Role in Gastric Bypass Surgery”
Published in Endocrinology in 2016 this study investigates the role of neurotensin in inhibiting food intake and suggests that it is a metabolically active hormone, which contributes to the regulation of food intake in mice.

“Model-Based Discovery of Synthetic Agonists for the Zn2+-Sensing G-Protein-Coupled Receptor 39 (GPR39) Reveals Novel Biological Functions”
Published in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 2017 this study uses a homology model-based approach to identify small-molecule pharmacological tool compounds for the G-protein-coupled receptor 39 and identifies the receptor as a novel regulator of gastric somatostatin secretion.

Staff at the Holst Group

Group leader: Professor Birgitte Holst

The Holst Group