ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2015) 38 MTE7 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.38.MTE7

Designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADD) - novel pharmacological handles on the endocrine system

Alastair Garfield1,2

1University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; 2Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Chemogenetic technologies afford the real-time control of molecularly-defined populations of neurons in a spatially and temporally specific fashion. The ability to remotely activate and silence neurons within the context of genetically-intact freely behaving mice provides unprecedented insight into their physiological function and pathological potential. Used in combination with other genetically-encoded tools this approach facilitates the deconvolution of the neural circuitry governing sensorimotor responses to (patho)physiological state. Here we review the principles and applications of chemogenetics, drawing upon our recent research into the discrete circuits that regulate homeostatic hunger/satiety and counter-regulatory autonomic responses to hypoglycemia, respectively.

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