Heike Muenzberg-Gruening, Ph.D.



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Diploma, Phillips University, Marburg, Germany
Ph.D., University Hospital Hamburg and Universtiy Hospital Heidelberg, Germany (Biology)
Postdoctoral Training, Harvard University/BIDMC, Boston, USA


Dissection of neuronal circuits that are involved in thermoregulatory leptin action to regulate energy expenditure and obesity.
Integration of diverse sensory inputs (e.g. cold, diet, reproductive hormones) to appropriate thermoregulatory output (energy expenditure).

Dissection of neuronal circuits that control nutrient reward and preference.

Role of galanin and leptin in nutrient reward and preference.

Pharmacogenetic and Optogenetic dissection of neuronal circuits for complex behavior (energy expenditure, nutrient reward/preference).

Optogenetic circuit mapping.


Laque A, Yu S, Qualls-Creekmore E, Gettys S, Schwartzenburg C, Bui K, Rhodes C, Berthoud H-R, Morrison CD, Richards B, Münzberg H: Leptin regulates nutrient reward via galanin neurons in the lateral hypothalamus. In press at Molecular Metabolism

Rezai-Zadeh K, Yu, Sangho, Jiang Y, Laque A, Schwartzenburg C, Morrison CD, Derbenev AV, Zsombok A, Münzberg H: Leptin Receptor Neurons in the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus are Key Regulators of Enenergy Expenditure and body weight, but not Food Intake. Molecular Metabolism 2014,3:681-93, PMCID: PMC4209380, featured on Journal’s title page

Münzberg H, Laque A, Yu S, Rezai-Zadeh, Berthoud H-R: Appetite and body weight regulation after bariatric surgery. Int J Obes, Review, 2015, Suppl 1:77-90

Morrison CD, Münzberg H: Structure, Production and Signaling of Leptin. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, 2014, S0026-0495(14):00292-3

Rezai-Zadeh K, Münzberg H: Integration of sensory information via central thermoregulatory leptin targets. Physiol Behav. 2013, 121:49-55, PMCID: PMC3683124

Laque A, Zhang Y, Gettys S, Nguyen TA, Bui K, Morrison CD, Münzberg H: Leptin receptor neurons in the mouse hypothalamus are co-localized with the neuropeptide galanin and mediate anorexigenic leptin action. AJP Endocrinol Metab, Epub Mar 2013, PMCID:PMC3651648.

Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Richards BK, Morrison CD: Neural and metabolic regulation of macronutrient intake and selection. Proc Nutr. Soc, 71(3): 390-400, 2012.

Zhang Y, Kerman IA, Laque A, Faouzi M, Louis GW, Jones JC, Rhodes C, Münzberg H: Leptin Receptor Expressing Neurons in the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus and Median Preoptic Area Regulate Sympathetic Brown Adipose Tissue Circuits. J Neurosci., 31(5):1873-84, 2011, PMCID:PMC3069639.

Berthoud HR, Münzberg H: The lateral hypothalamus as intergrator of metabolic and environmental needs:from electrical self-stimulation to opto-genetics. Physiol Behav., 104(1):29-39, 2011 PMCID:PMC3131619.

Tschöp MH, Speakman JR, Arch JR, Auwerx J, Brüning JC, Chan L, Eckel RH, Farese RV Jr, Galgani JE, Hambly C, Herman MA, Horvath TL, Kahn BB, Kozma SC, Maratos-Flier E, Müller TD, Münzberg H, Pfluger PT, Plum L, Reitman ML, Rahmouni K, Shulman GI, Thomas G, Kahn CR, Ravussin E: A guide to analysis of mouse energy metabolism. Nat Methods, 9(1):57-63, 2011, PMCID:PMC3654855.

Leshan RL, Opland D, Louis G, Leinninger GM, Patterson CM, Rhodes C, Münzberg H, Myers MG Jr.: Ventral tegmental area leptin receptor neurons specifically project to and regulate cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript neurons of the extended central amygdala. J. Neurosci. 2010 30(16):5713-23, 2010. PMCID: PMC2864009.

Leshan RL, Louis GW, Jo YH, Rhodes CJ, Münzberg H, Myers MG Jr. Direct innervations of GNRH neurons by metabolic-and sexual odorant-sensing leptin receptor neurons in the hypothalamic ventral premammillary nucleus. J Neurosci 29(10):3138-47, 2009.

Myers MG Jr, Münzberg H, Leinninger GM, Leshan RL. The geometry of leptin action in the brain: more complicated than simple ARC. Cell Metab. 9(2):117-23, 2009.

Villanueva EC, Münzberg H, Cota D, Leshan RL, Kopp K, Ishida-Takahashi R, Jones JC, Fingar DC, Seeley RJ, Myers MG Jr. Complex regulation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 in the basomedial hypothalamus by leptin and nutritional status. Endocrinology 150(10):4541-5, 2009.

Leinninger GM, Jo YH, Leshan RL, Louis GW, Yang H, Barrera JG, Wilson H, Opland DM, Faouzi MA, Gong Y, Jones JC, Rhodes CJ, Chua S Jr, Diano S, Horvath TL, Seeley RJ, Becker JB, Münzberg H, Myers MG Jr. Leptin acts via leptin receptor-expressing lateral hypothalamic neurons to modulate the mesolimbic dopamine system and suppress feeding. Cell Metab 10(2):89-98, 2009.

Ernst MB, Wunderlich CM, Hess S, Paehler M, Mesaros A, Koralov SB, Kleinridders A, Husch A, Münzberg H, Hampel B, Alber J, Kloppenburg P, Brüning JC, Wunderlich FT. Enhanced Stat3 activation in POMC neurons provokes negative feedback inhibition of leptin and insulin signaling in obesity. J Neurosci. 29(37):11582-93, 2009.

Lee JY, Muenzberg H, Gavrilova O, Reed JA, Berryman D, Villanueva EC, Louis GW, Leinninger GM, Bertuzzi S, Seeley RJ, Robinson GW, Myers MG, Hennighausen L: Loss of Cytokine-STAT5 Signaling in the CNS and Pituitary Gland Alters Energy Balance and Leads to Obesity. PLoS ONE, 3(2):e1639, 2008.

Mori H, Inoki K, Münzberg H, Opland D, Faouzi M, Villanueva EC, Ikenoue T, Kwiatkowski D, MacDougald OA, Myers MG Jr, Guan KL. Critical role for hypothalamic mTOR activity in energy balance. Cell Metab 9(4):362-74, 2008.

Münzberg H: Differential Leptin Access into the Brain – A Hierarchical Organization of Hypothalamic Leptin Target Sites? Physiol Behav. 94:664-9, 2008.

Münzberg H, Jobst E, Bates SH, Jones JC, Villanueva E, Leshan RL, Björnholm M, Elmquist J, Sleeman M, Cowley M, Myers MG Jr: Appropriate inhibition of orexigenic hypothalamic arcuate nucleus neurons independently of leptin receptor/STAT3 signaling. J. Neurosc 27(1):69-74, 2007.

Björnholm M, Münzberg H, Leshan RL, Bates SH, Louis GW, Villanueva EC, Jones JC, Ishida-Takahashi R, Myers MG: Mice lacking inhibitory leptin receptor signals are lean with normal endocrine function. J Clin Inv accepted Feb 2007.

Faouzi M, Leshan R, Björnholm M, Hennessey T, Jones JC and Münzberg H: Differential Accessibility of Circulating Leptin to Individual Hypothalamic Sites. Endocrinology, 148(11):5414-23, 2007.

Gong Y, Ishida-Takahashi R, Villanueve EC, Fingar DC, Münzberg H, Myers MG Jr.: The long form of the leptin receptor regulates STAT5 and ribosomal protein S6 via alternate mechanisms. J Biol Chem, 282(42):31019-27, 2007.

Plum L, Rother E, Münzberg H (3/15), Brüning JC: Enhanced leptin-stimulated pi3k activation in the CNS promotes white adipose tissue transdifferentiation. Cell Metab., 6(6):431-45, 2007.

Leshan RL, Björnholm M, Münzberg H, Myers MG Jr: Leptin receptor signaling and action in the central nervous system. Obesity. 2006 Suppl 5:208S-212S. ^ top