October 03, 2012
Janet Neuhaus

Visiting Medical Professor

Event Details: October 12
Min Liu, Ph.D.
Min Liu, Ph.D.

Min Liu, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the College of Medicine at University of Cincinnati, will visit the School of Medicine on Friday, Oct. 12.

During his visit, he will give a lecture titled "Brain Apolipoprotein A-IV Mediates Estrogenic Reduction of Dietary Obesity in Female Rats" from 1-2 p.m. The lecture will be held in the conference room on the ninth floor of the Firmin Desloge Towers Building. It is free and open to the public, and no reservations are required.

Liu is a associate professor of medicine in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Metabolic Diseases Institute and the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. His long-term research goal is to understand the regulation of energy balance and use the knowledge to develop potential therapeutic approaches for both obesity and diabetes.

His research focuses on two projects. The first project is to elucidate the mechanisms mediating the actions of apolipoprotein A-IV (apoA-IV) in the regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis, with emphasis on the actions in the central nervous system. Administration of apoA-IV directly into the brain significantly suppresses food intake and body weight without eliciting signs of toxicity. Blocking the action of the endogenous apoA-IV in the brain causes an increase in food intake. Recent results from his laboratory have revealed that brain apoA-IV gene expression and the associated anorectic actions are up-regulated in females by estrogen, a gender hormone with profound effects on energy homeostasis.

Liu hypothesizes that an increase in central apoA-IV signaling at least partially mediates the anorectic effect of 17-beta estradiol in female animals. Determining the interactions of central apoA-IV with 17-beta estradiol in the control of food intake and body weight may lead to innovative targets to the prevention and the treatment of diet-induced obesity in women.

The second project is to identify safe and effective natural compounds for the prevention and the treatment of obesity and diabetes. Ginseng is one of the best-selling herbal supplements in the United States. Recently, Liu's laboratory has identified novel functions of ginsenoside Rb1 (Rb1), an active compound extracted from ginseng. Peripheral administration of Rb1 to rats potently suppresses food intake without eliciting signs of toxicity. Moreover, chronic Rb1 treatment significantly reduces food intake and body weight gain in high-fat-diet-induced obese rats. Rb1 also significantly decreases fasting blood glucose and improves impaired glucose tolerance. These data demonstrate potential roles for Rb1 as an anti-obesity and anti-hyperglycemic agent.

Liu's laboratory is now working on identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying these actions of Rb1 by using comprehensive integration of behavioral, physiological and molecular approaches. The new knowledge obtained from these studies will increase understanding of the actions of Rb1 on energy and glucose homeostasis, and also may facilitate the development of an effective and safe product for the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

The event is sponsored by the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the Department of Internal Medicine.

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