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Circulating insulin peptides and interoception

Ignacio Torres Aleman

Laboratory of Neurobiology of Insulin Peptides, ACHUCARRO

19 May 2023 13:00

Aketxe Room, Sede Building, Leioa

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Both insulin and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), the best studied insulin peptides (ILPs), are mostly produced by the pancreas and the liver, respectively. Notably, the brain receives inputs from both circulating and locally produced ILPs, similarly to many other brain signals of dual origin such as sexual steroids. Since crossing the blood-brain-barrier is an energetically costly process, peripheral ILP input to the brain, as opposed to local input, must carry out distinct information posing an evolutionary advantage. Stemming from previous work from my lab, we propose that IGF-I is an interoceptive signal of muscle mass, resembling interoceptive signaling provided by insulin for adipose mass, as established by work from many others. Therefore, we are interested in central mechanisms of interoceptive information provided by these two circulating ILPs. Parsing through the multiple actions of ILPs in the brain, we are presently focused on two topics 1) the role of IGF-I as a signal of exercise-associated well-being through hypothalamic orexin neurons, that are involved in control of physical activity, muscle tone and energy allocation, and 2) the role of insulin in assigning valence to food through astrocytes, as these glial cells are wide modulators of neuronal circuits. I will present examples of our work along these two lines of research. A better knowledge of well-being circuits and cellular substrates of valence may lead to new therapeutic approaches to psychiatric conditions linked to neurodegenerative and metabolic conditions.

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