Luc Pellerin Laboratory

Neuroenergetics and body energy homeostasis.


Energy production and utilization is a fundamental feature of all living organisms. Maintenance of energy homeostasis requires coordinated mechanisms between various tissues and organs in multicellular organisms such as vertebrates. The brain plays a central role in this coordination. Moreover, the brain itself requires an important energy supply to sustain its main functions. In our laboratory, we are interested in deciphering the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the intercellular generation and utilization of energy within the central nervous system (a field known as neuroenergetics) in relation with cognitive processes such as learning and memory. Detection of energy substrate utilization forms the basis of some functional brain imaging techniques (e.g. Positron Emission Tomography) and it is critical to understand the precise mechanisms at play in order to interpret the imaging signals appropriately. Moreover, failure to provide enough energy to neurons has been identified as a major factor involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and clarifying the causes represents an important clinical interest.



Body energy homeostasis depends on the capacity of the brain to detect the energy status of the organism by deciphering peripheral signals such hormones, nutrients as well as afferent nerve activity. In return, the brain should be able to activate the appropriate responses, whether via nervous efferent signals or behavioral responses, to maintain homeostasis. Any imbalance can lead to metabolic diseases such as obesity. Our laboratory is also dedicated to investigate the mechanisms by which the brain senses some of these peripheral signals, in particular nutrients such as lactate and ketone bodies. In addition, it is also interested to explore how such nutrients (i.e. monocarboxylates) influence energy homeostasis in various peripheral organs and tissues.



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Luc Pellerin

Group leader

Rue du Bugnon 7 - CH-1005 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 55 00
Fax +41 21 692 55 05