Our goal is to understand how obesity affects the central nervous system (CNS). In the periphery, obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation which in turn is linked to a significant increase in the incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a variety of cancers. Mounting evidence from clinical studies suggests that obesity is associated with increased vulnerability of the CNS to damage from acute and chronic insults such as stroke and dementia. Currently, little is known about the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon but we hypothesize that obesity related changes in the neuroimmune milieu may be a contributing factor. The energy homeostasis field has largely focused on the role of neurons in both the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of obesity and the specific contribution of other CNS cell types has remained largely unexamined. Our laboratory is interested in how obesity affects non-neuronal cell types in the CNS such as glia and cerebral endothelial cells. We employ a variety of techniques including neuroanatomy, in vivo physiology, cell culture and molecular biology.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

  1. Obesity induced by a high-fat diet is associated with increased immune cell entry into the central nervous system. Buckman LB, Hasty AH, Flaherty DK, Buckman CT, Thompson MM, Matlock BK, Weller K, Ellacott KL (2014) Brain Behav Immun : 33-42
    › Primary publication · 23831150 (PubMed) · PMC3858467 (PubMed Central)
  2. High-fat diet acutely affects circadian organisation and eating behavior. Pendergast JS, Branecky KL, Yang W, Ellacott KL, Niswender KD, Yamazaki S (2013) Eur J Neurosci 37(8): 1350-6
    › Primary publication · 23331763 (PubMed) · PMC3645495 (PubMed Central)
  3. Regional astrogliosis in the mouse hypothalamus in response to obesity. Buckman LB, Thompson MM, Moreno HN, Ellacott KL (2013) J Comp Neurol 521(6): 1322-33
    › Primary publication · 23047490 (PubMed) · PMC4048830 (PubMed Central)
  4. Toll-like receptor 4 deficiency promotes the alternative activation of adipose tissue macrophages. Orr JS, Puglisi MJ, Ellacott KL, Lumeng CN, Wasserman DH, Hasty AH (2012) Diabetes 61(11): 2718-27
    › Primary publication · 22751700 (PubMed) · PMC3478520 (PubMed Central)
  5. Melanocortin-3 receptor regulates the normal fasting response. Renquist BJ, Murphy JG, Larson EA, Olsen D, Klein RF, Ellacott KL, Cone RD (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(23): E1489-98
    › Primary publication · 22573815 (PubMed) · PMC3384161 (PubMed Central)
  6. Melanocortin-4 receptor signaling is required for weight loss after gastric bypass surgery. Hatoum IJ, Stylopoulos N, Vanhoose AM, Boyd KL, Yin DP, Ellacott KL, Ma LL, Blaszczyk K, Keogh JM, Cone RD, Farooqi IS, Kaplan LM (2012) J Clin Endocrinol Metab 97(6): E1023-31
    › Primary publication · 22492873 (PubMed) · PMC3387412 (PubMed Central)
  7. Characterization of the hyperphagic response to dietary fat in the MC4R knockout mouse. Srisai D, Gillum MP, Panaro BL, Zhang XM, Kotchabhakdi N, Shulman GI, Ellacott KL, Cone RD (2011) Endocrinology 152(3): 890-902
    › Primary publication · 21239438 (PubMed) · PMC3040060 (PubMed Central)
  8. Physiological roles of the melanocortin MC₃ receptor. Renquist BJ, Lippert RN, Sebag JA, Ellacott KL, Cone RD (2011) Eur J Pharmacol 660(1): 13-20
    › Primary publication · 21211527 (PubMed) · PMC3095771 (PubMed Central)
  9. Assessment of feeding behavior in laboratory mice. Ellacott KL, Morton GJ, Woods SC, Tso P, Schwartz MW (2010) Cell Metab 12(1): 10-7
    › Primary publication · 20620991 (PubMed) · PMC2916675 (PubMed Central)
  10. Mouse models of the metabolic syndrome. Kennedy AJ, Ellacott KL, King VL, Hasty AH (2010) Dis Model Mech 3(3-4): 156-66
    › Primary publication · 20212084 (PubMed) · PMC2869491 (PubMed Central)