Balaskó Lab



MÁRTA BALASKÓ


University of Pécs 

Medical School

Institute for Translational Medicine


Address: 12 Szigeti str. H-7624 Pécs, Hungary

E: marta.balasko@aok.pte.hu

T: +36-72/536-246



Introduction

The incidence of aging increases dramatically in populations all over the world, along with the occurrence of age-related metabolic disorders such as middle-aged obesity and aging anorexia leading to muscle atrophy (sarcopenia) in old populations. Population aging is particularly rapid among women resulting in ‘‘feminization of old age’’, therefore investigation of sex-differences is of primary importance. Long-term body weight regulation and age-related changes in body composition show similar trends in laboratory rodents and humans, therefore regulatory changes may also been assumed in the background. Age-related shifts in the responsiveness to certain catabolic mediators (e.g. to centrally applied leptin, centrally applied melanocortins, peripherally applied cholecystokinin) that may contribute to the development of middle-aged obesity and aging anorexia (i.e. strong effects in young adult, diminished responsiveness in middle-aged and pronounced effects in old age-groups) suggest that age-associated alterations in other neuropeptide systems or in other peripheral mediators and hormones may also be involved in the development of age-related obesity or aging anorexia. Long-term nutritional states, such as obesity or life-long caloric restriction and special diets (e.g. ketogenic or Mediterranean diets) may also influence the regulation of energy metabolism strongly. Apart from them, physical activity and training interventions are also known to decrease body weight and slow down aging. The main objective of our research group is the elucidation of the contribution of age-related regulatory changes to obesity developing at an ever earlier age and to weight loss and muscle atrophy in the elderly. We are also studying the special mechanisms affecting energy balance activated by long-term caloric restriction, specific diets or different forms of physical activity. We aim to investigate their potential contribution to the prevention of middle-aged obesity and sarcopenia of the elderly. 


Laboratory techniques

Our research group carries out complex analyses of parameters of energy balance with regard to changes induced by age, nutritional states, diets or physical activity in different age-groups of male and female laboratory rodents. We study the central and sometimes the peripheral effects of body weight reducing (catabolic) and those of weight gain inducing (anabolic) mediators, neuropeptides or hormones (or their antagonists) on food intake, metabolic rate (oxygen consumption), body temperature and heat loss. We also test the effects of intranasal administration of the applied mediators. Our most important test systems include an automated FeedScale system (food intake registration), indirect calorimetry (monitoring oxygen consumption, and also recording food and water intake, core temperature and tail skin temperature) and a biotelemetric system (that registers core temperature, horizontal locomotor activity and heart rate, in addition to the daily manual measurements of body weight and food intake). For the study of the effects of spontaneous physical activity and training intervention, we apply a biotelemetric running wheel system and a 5-lane treadmill system. In addition to the complex in vivo analysis of energy balance, we also test the mRNA expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides in collaboration with other research groups. 

Members of the research group


Publications

Tenk J, Rostás I, Füredi N, Mikó A, Solymár M, Soós S, Gaszner B, Feller D, Székely M, Pétervári E, Balaskó M., 2017. Age-related changes in central effects of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) suggest a role for this mediator in aging anorexia and cachexia. Geroscience. 39(1): 61-72. 

Rostás I, Tenk J, Mikó A, Füredi N, Soós S, Solymár M, Lengyel A, Székely M, Gaszner B, Feller D, Pétervári E, Balaskó M., 2016. Age-related changes in acute central leptin effects on energy balance are promoted by obesity. Exp Gerontol. 85:118-127. 

Tenk J, Rostás I, Füredi N, Mikó A, Soós S, Solymár M, Gaszner B, Székely M, Pétervári E, Balaskó M., 2016. Acute central effects of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) on energy balance: Effects of age and gender. Peptides. 85:63-72. 

Rostás I, Füredi N, Tenk J, Mikó A, Solymár M, Soós S, Székely M, Pétervári E, Balaskó M., 2015. Age-related alterations in the central thermoregulatory responsiveness to alpha-MSH. J Therm Biol. 49-50:9-15. 

Pétervári E, Rostás I, Soós S, Tenk J, Mikó A, Füredi N, Székely M, Balaskó M., 2014. Age versus nutritional state in the development of central leptin resistance. Peptides. 56:59-67. 

Balaskó M, Rostás I, Füredi N, Mikó A, Tenk J, Cséplő P, Koncsecskó-Gáspár M, Soós S, Székely M, Pétervári E., 2013. Age and nutritional state influence the effects of cholecystokinin on energy balance. Exp Gerontol. 48(11):1180-1188. 

Balaskó M., Garami A., Soós S., Koncsecskó-Gáspár M., Pétervári E., 2010. Central alpha-MSH, energy balance, thermal balance, and antipyresis. Journal of Thermal Biology. 35(5): 211-217.