Cardiovascular diseases in obesity

Years funded:
2016 - 2019

The research proposed in this application will investigate the mechanism behind the cause of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in obesity.

Dr Stephanie Simonds recently established that the fat produced hormone leptin, which is increased in obesity acts in the Dorso Medial Hypothalamic region of the brain to increase blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Beyond activating the neurons expressing leptin receptors in the Dorso Medial Hypothalamus, we don't know how leptin is causing these actions. We believe that beyond the Dorso Medial Hypothalamic region in the brain, the signalling messages travel by a number of pathways and ultimately it is resultant in an increase in sympathetic nerve activity to the heart and kidney.

Without knowledge of how and which pathways from the Dorso Medial Hypothalamus are involved, we cannot accurately treat cardiovascular diseases in obesity at the source of the problem.

This research aims to determine how leptin causes hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in obesity. The potential outcomes of this research are significant as identification and an understanding of the pathways will allow us to potentially restrict leptin's actions in the brain in obesity and reduce the cardiovascular risk. This would greatly reduce the cardiovascular burden of the community.

Researcher Profile

Dr Stephanie Simonds

Institute: Monash University
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