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DRC Director's Report - April 2021

FOEDRC member Matthew Potthoff, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, and graduate student Sharon Jensen-Cody recently wrote a review article entitled: “Hepatokines and metabolism: Deciphering communication from the liver” that was published in the Journal Molecular Metabolism. This article was featured on the cover of the February issue of the Journal, that increased the visibility of their work.

In that article Drs. Potthoff and Jensen-Cody note that the liver plays an important role in the regulation of the body’s energy metabolism. It is able to sense when nutrients are present in excess or are deficient. In response to these nutritional changes, the liver will release hormones that will instruct other tissues in the body how to respond. This means that the liver is now recognized as an endocrine organ (gland) that secretes hormones, which are now known as hepatokines. 

These liver-derived factors can signal to and communicate with distant tissues. In this review, Potthoff’s lab describe the growing list of hepatokines and their role in metabolic control. They also examine how each of these hepatokines function at the cellular and molecular level. They also discuss their potential to be used as as therapies for metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. 

Dr. Potthoff’s laboratory in the FOEDRC has made major advances to this area of research, and his influence in this area is exemplified in this article.

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