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Mechanisms of Disease


Sulay Tovar Carro
Group Leader | Associate Professor
Lab: P0L3
Field of knowledge

In general the work of the group has been focused in different lines of work aiming to delineate new mechanisms regulating energy balance. 

We focus in uncovering the mechanisms by which the CNS regulate peripheral metabolism (e.g. Liver, Wat, BAT) and how afferent peripheral signals (e.g. gonadal hormones, gastrointestinal hormones, insulin etc.) influence food intake and food behavior at central level.

Actually we are more focus in new components of this system like cell cycle regulators or new antagonist of ghrelin system and the influence in the development of metabolic diseases: type2 diabetes and NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease).

Research Lines

We described that the deficiency of p107 (a cell cycle regulator member of pocket proteins  like Rb and p130) triggered brown fat thermogenesis activation and improved hepatic metabolism in high caloric conditions. Now, we are investigating its specific metabolic role in the liver and adipocytes highlighting two aspects: 
a) the relevance of p107 in the crosstalk between adipose tissue and liver.
b) delineating the effects of p107 from organ to cell-specificity.

The new discovery of the ghrelin antagonist LEAP-2 allowed us to explore: 
a) The regulatory role of LEAP-2 in energy homeostasis and its metabolic actions in peripheral metabolism in organs like liver and WAT.
b) In human, to assess LEAP2 levels as a new circulating biomarker in normal and in patients with different diseases states linked to alterations in energy homeostasis.



Tadeu De Oliveira Diz
PhD student
Marta Varela Miguéns
PhD student
Carmen Quintela Vilariño
PhD student

Selected publications

LEAP-2 Counteracts Ghrelin-Induced Food Intake in a Nutrient, Growth Hormone and Age Independent Manner

Lugilde, J.; Casado, S.; Beiroa, D.; Cuñarro, J.; Garcia-Lavandeira, M.; Álvarez, C.V.; Nogueiras, R.; Diéguez, C.; Tovar, S.

p107 Deficiency Increases Energy Expenditure by Inducing Brown-Fat Thermogenesis and Browning of White Adipose Tissue

Juan Cunarro, Xabier Buque, Sabela Casado, Javier Lugilde, Anxo Vidal, Alfonso Mora, Guadalupe Sabio, Rubén Nogueiras, Patricia Aspichueta, Carlos Diéguez, Sulay Tovar

Prolonged breastfeeding protects from obesity by hypothalamic action of hepatic FGF21

Pena-Leon V, Folgueira C, Barja-Fernández S, Pérez-Lois R, Da Silva Lima N, Martin M, Heras V, Martinez-Martinez S, Valero P, Iglesias C, Duquenne M, Al-Massadi O, Beiroa D, Souto Y, Fidalgo M, Sowmyalakshmi R, Guallar D, Cunarro J, Castelao C, Senra A, González-Saenz P, Vázquez-Cobela R, Leis R, Sabio G, Mueller-Fielitz H, Schwaninger M, López M, Tovar S, Casanueva FF, Valjent E, Diéguez C, Prevot V, Nogueiras R, Seoane LM

Circulating LEAP-2 is associated with puberty in girls

Barja-Fernández S, Lugilde J, Castelao C, Vázquez-Cobela R, Seoane LM, Diéguez C, Leis R, Tovar S.

Obesity induces resistance to central action of BMP8B through a mechanism involving the BBSome.

Rial-Pensado E, Freire-Agulleiro O, Ríos M, Guo DF, Contreras C, Seoane-Collazo P, Tovar S, Nogueiras R, Diéguez C, Rahmouni K, López M.

O-GlcNAcylated p53 in the liver modulates hepatic glucose production

Maria J. Gonzalez-Rellan, Marcos F. Fondevila, Uxia Fernandez, Amaia Rodríguez, Marta Varela-Rey, Christelle Veyrat-Durebex, Samuel Seoane, Ganeko Bernardo, Fernando Lopitz-Otsoa, David Fernández-Ramos, Jon Bilbao, Cristina Iglesias, Eva Novoa, Cristina Ameneiro, Ana Senra, Daniel Beiroa, Juan Cuñarro, Maria DP Chantada-Vazquez, Maria Garcia-Vence, Susana B. Bravo, Natalia Da Silva Lima, Begoña Porteiro, Carmen Carneiro, Anxo Vidal, Sulay Tovar, Timo D. Müller, Johan Ferno, Diana Guallar, Miguel Fidalgo, Guadalupe Sabio, Stephan Herzig, Won Ho Yang, Jin Won Cho, Maria Luz Martinez-Chantar, Roman Perez-Fernandez, Miguel López, Carlos Dieguez, Jose M. Mato, Oscar Millet, Roberto Coppari, Ashwin Woodhoo, Gema Fruhbeck & Ruben Nogueiras

Selected Results


National project(s)

Descubriendo las implicaciones de p107 en crosstalk hígado-tejido adiposo en el desarrollo de obesidad y MAFLD - RETOS 2020
REF: PID2020-116741RB-I00Duration: -
PI: Sulay Tovar Carro


Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red: Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición