Articles > Physiology and pathophysiology of obesity

Physiology and pathophysiology of obesity

April 16, 2002 – New Orleans, La. – The rate of obesity in the United States has doubled, Type 2 diabetes has increased nine-fold, and heart disease remains the number one cause of death for Americans. Sixty percent of all Americans are at risk, including children.

A series of briefings examining the physiological and neurobiological nature of these diseases will be held during the 115th annual meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS), part of the "Experimental Biology 2002” conference. More than 14,000 researchers will attend the conference being held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La., from April 20-24, 2002.

APS president John E. Hall, Ph.D., has organized the briefings for the “Physiology in Focus” section of the meeting. The APS is one of the world’s most prestigious organizations for physiological scientists. Founded in 1887, the Society has more than 10,000 members and publishes 3,800 articles in its 14 peer-reviewed journals each year. Physiologists specialize in understanding the processes and functions underlying human health and disease.

The press is invited to attend a series of open-door briefings being led by some of the nation’s foremost experts on the following subjects:

Gene-Environment Interactions of Obesity

  • Molecular mechanisms of human monogenic obesity – Sadaf Farooqi, Addenbrook’s Hospital, Cambridge, U.K.


  • Genetic and physiologic analysis of energy homeostasis in obesity – Rudolph L. Leibel, Rockefeller University


  • The role of the environment in human obesity – James O. Hall, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center


  • Human genomics and obesity: finding appropriate drug targets – Eric Ravussin, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Neurobiology of Obesity

  • CNS-neuropeptide interactions in obesity – Michael Schwartz, University of Washington, Seattle


  • The melanocortin pathway and its role in regulating energy balance – Gregory Barsh, Stanford University


  • New developments in leptin neurobiology – Joel Elmquist, Harvard Medical School


  • Brain glucose sensing and body energy homeostasis: role in obesity and diabetes – Barry Levin, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Endocrine/Metabolic Consequences of Obesity

  • Molecular Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance and the Pathophysiology of Obesity and Diabetes – Barbara Kahn, Harvard Medical School


  • Ciliary neurotrophic factor activates leptin-like pathways and reduces body fat, without cachexia or rebound weight gain, even in leptin-resistant obesity – George Yancopoulos, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.


  • Role of body fat distribution in obesity-associated metabolic abnormalities – Nir Barzilai, Albert Einstein College of Medicine


  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors: from genes to physiology to therapy – Johan Auwerx, Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS, INSERM, Universite Louis Pasteur, France

Obesity and Cardiovascular Regulation

  • Using Congenic and Transgenic Strains to Understand the Molecular Pathophysiology of Syndrome X and Hypertension – Theodore Kurtz, University of California – San Francisco


  • Role of leptin in obesity associated hypertension – William G. Haynes, University of Iowa College Medicine


  • Mechanisms of cardiovascular “lipotoxicity” in obesity – Roger Unger, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center


  • Sympathetic neural activation in human obesity – Kevin P. Davy, Colorado State University


American Physiological Society. April 2002.

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