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Molecular Medicine


Bruno Conti, Ph.D.

Department of Molecular Medicine
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(858) 784-9069

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Professor, Dorris Neuroscience Center
Department of Neuroscience
Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Our laboratory is interested in the biological role of cytokines in the central nervous system and in the role of central thermoregulation in energy homeostasis and aging.

In particular, we are investigating the biology of interleukin 18 (IL-18) and of interleukin 13 (IL-13) in the central nervous system (CNS).  These cytokines can participate in local inflammatory processes affecting neuronal survival and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, since the IL-18, as well as the IL-13 receptors, is expressed in neurons, these interleukins can directly influence central functions and behavior. Using molecular techniques and animal models we hope to characterize the biology of these cytokines in the CNS and its significance in health and disease. For instance, we previously demonstrated that IL-18 participates in the regulation of energy homeostasis by influencing feeding and energy efficiency. We also recently showed tha the IL-13Ra1 system plays and important role in regulating the survival of dopaminergic neurons during neuroinflammation suggesting it may contribute to the pathogenesis or the progression of Parkinson's Disease.

In addition, the laboratory is also actively investigating the central mechanisms of thermoregulation and its involvement in influencing energy homeostasis, metabolism and aging. We showed that small but prolonged reduction of core body temperature prolongs lifespan. We are now actively investigating the mechanisms mediating these effects.


Ph.D., University of Milan, 1991

Awards & Professional Activities

Senior Scholar, The Ellison Medical Foundation

Selected References

Conti, B. & Hansen, M. A Cool Way to Live Long. Cell 152, 671-672 (2013).

Morrison, B. E., Marcondes, M. C., Nomura, D. K., Sanchez-Alavez, M., Sanchez-Gonzalez, A., Saar, I., Kim, K. S., Bartfai, T., Maher, P., Sugama, S. & Conti, B. Cutting Edge: IL-13Ralpha1 Expression in Dopaminergic Neurons Contributes to Their Oxidative Stress-Mediated Loss following Chronic Peripheral Treatment with Lipopolysaccharide. J Immunol 189, 5498-5502 (2012).

Dinarello, C., Arend, W., Sims, J., Smith, D., Blumberg, H., O'Neill, L., Goldbach-Mansky, R., Pizarro, T., Hoffman, H., Bufler, P., Nold, M., Ghezzi, P., Mantovani, A., Garlanda, C., Boraschi, D., Rubartelli, A., Netea, M., van der Meer, J., Joosten, L., Mandrup-Poulsen, T., Donath, M., Lewis, E., Pfeilschifter, J., Martin, M., Kracht, M., Muehl, H., Novick, D., Lukic, M., Conti, B., Solinger, A., Kelk, P., van de Veerdonk, F. & Gabel, C. IL-1 family nomenclature. Nat Immunol 11, 973 (2011).

Nomura, D. K., Morrison, B., Blankman, J. L., Long, J. Z., Kinsey, S. G., Marcondes, M. C., Ward, A. M., Lichtman, A. H., Hahn, J. K., Conti, B. & Cravatt, B. F. Endocannabinoid hydrolysis generates brain prostaglandins that promote neuroinflammation. Science 334, 809-813 (2011).

Tabarean, I., Morrison, B., Marcondes, M. C., Bartfai, T. & Conti, B. Hypothalamic and dietary control of temperature-mediated longevity. Ageing Res Rev 9, 41-50 (2010).

Cottone, P., Sabino, V., Roberto, M., Bajo, M., Pockros, L., Frihauf, J. B., Fekete, E. M., Steardo, L., Rice, K. C., Grigoriadis, D. E., Conti, B., Koob, G. F. & Zorrilla, E. P. CRF system recruitment mediates dark side of compulsive eating. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106, 20016-20020 (2009).

Conti, B. Considerations on temperature, longevity and aging. Cell Mol Life Sci 65, 1626-1630 (2008).

Zorrilla, E. P., Sanchez-Alavez, M., Sugama, S., Brennan, M., Fernandez, R., Bartfai, T. & Conti, B. Interleukin-18 controls energy homeostasis by suppressing appetite and feed efficiency. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104, 11097-11102 (2007).

Conti, B., Sanchez-Alavez, M., Winsky-Sommerer, R., Morale, M. C., Lucero, J., Brownell, S., Fabre, V., Huitron-Resendiz, S., Henriksen, S., Zorrilla, E. P., de Lecea, L. & Bartfai, T. Transgenic mice with a reduced core body temperature have an increased life span. Science 314, 825-828 (2006).

Conti, B., Sugama, S., Lucero, J., Winsky-Sommerer, R., Wirz, S. A., Maher, P., Andrews, Z., Barr, A. M., Morale, M. C., Paneda, C., Pemberton, J., Gaidarova, S., Behrens, M. M., Beal, F., Sanna, P. P., Horvath, T. & Bartfai, T. Uncoupling protein 2 protects dopaminergic neurons from acute 1,2,3,6-methyl-phenyl-tetrahydropyridine toxicity. J Neurochem 93, 493-501 (2005).

Solforosi, L., Criado, J. R., McGavern, D. B., Wirz, S., Sanchez-Alavez, M., Sugama, S., DeGiorgio, L. A., Volpe, B. T., Wiseman, E., Abalos, G., Masliah, E., Gilden, D., Oldstone, M. B., Conti, B. & Williamson, R. A. Cross-linking cellular prion protein triggers neuronal apoptosis in vivo. Science 303, 1514-1516 (2004).

Molecular Medicine Seminar Series
Center for Physiological Proteomics
Department Contacts

CA Faculty

Asahara, Hiroshi
Balch, William E.
Boddy, Michael
Buxbaum, Joel
Catz, Sergio
Conti, Bruno
Cravatt, Benjamin
D'Lima, Darryl
DerMardirossian, Celine
Deryugina, Elena
Elias, Darlene
Encalada, Sandra
Felding, Brunhilde
Fowler, Velia
Friedlander, Martin
Gerace, Larry
Gottesfeld, Joel
Griffin, John
Hanneken, Anne
Heeb, Mary Jo
Henderson, Scott
Hoch, James
Johnson, Eric
Kanaji, Taisuke
Koziol, James
Lamia, Katja
Lipton, Stuart
Loring, Jeanne F.
Loskutoff, David
Lotz, Martin
Makarenkova, Helen P.
Mc Millan, Robert
Miles, Lindsey
Milner, Richard
Modena, Brian
Mosnier, Laurent
Nicholson, Laura
Paulson, James C.
Perego, Marta
Petrascheck, Michael
Pollard, Kenneth Michael
Quigley, James P.
Reed, Steven
Roberts, Edward
Rosen, Hugh
Ruggeri, Zaverio
Russell, Paul
Saez, Enrique
Smider, Vaughn
Srinivasan, Supriya
Steinhubl, Steven
Sutcliffe, J.
Tan, Eng
Topol, Eric
Vanderklish, Peter
Vogt, Peter K.
Wiseman, Luke
Wittenberg, Curt
Wolan, Dennis W.
Wu, Peng
Wu, Xiaohua
Yang, Xiang-Lei
Yates III, John

FL Faculty

Bannister, Thomas
Bohn, Laura M.
Cameron, Michael
Duckett, Derek
Gill, Matt
Griffin, Patrick
Hansen, Scott
Joazeiro, Claudio
Kamenecka, Theodore
Kissil, Joseph
Luo, Junli
McDonald, Patricia
Miller, Courtney
Niedernhofer, Laura
Phinney, Donald G.
Robbins, Paul
Scampavia, Louis
Schimmel, Paul
Smith, Roy
Spicer, Timothy

Affiliated Faculty

Cline, Hollis
Kojetin, Douglas
Lairson, Luke
Paegel, Brian
Rumbaugh, Gavin
Shen, Ben
Solt, Laura A
Su, Andrew
Wu, Chunlei
Ye, Li

Adjunct Faculty