Integrative Neurophysiology

Research Overview

Associate Professor Verberne’s laboratory has focussed on central cardiovascular control mechanisms from the early 1990s. Since 2004 we have shifted our focus to central autonomic control of pancreatic and adrenal secretion in response to iatrogenic (insulin-induced) hypoglycaemia.

Research highlights:

  • Identification of specific groups of neurons in the medulla, midbrain and cerebral cortex that are important for blood pressure control via modulation of the sympathetic outflow to the blood vessels and the heart.
  • Identification of brainstem neurons that control pancreatic exocrine and endocrine secretion and how the brain regulates the level of glucose in the blood.
  • Identification of previously undescribed groups of neurons in the hypothalamus and brain stem that are intimately involved in the response to hypoglycaemia, an important side-effect of the treatment of diabetes.

Our experimental approaches involve recording from individual neurons, peripheral nerves as well as haemodynamic studies (arterial blood pressure, heart rate and blood flow to specific vascular territories).


  • Ida J. Llewellyn-Smith, Centre for Neuroscience, Flinders University, 'Phenotypic identification of hypothalamic glucose-sensitive neurons'
  • Dr Caroline Sevoz-Couche, Pierre and Marie Curie University, France, 'Midbrain centres and cardivascular control'
  • Dr Simon McMullan, Macquarie University


  • Brain control of glucose homeostasis, NHMRC, (2012-2014)
  • Hypothalamic orexin neurons and the medullary sympathoadrenal centre: a key role in glucose homeostasis, Sir Edward Dunlop Medical Research Foundation, (2012)
  • Hypoglycaemia in diabetes: how the brain regulates blood glucose homeostasis, Rebecca Cooper Medical Research Foundation, (2011)

Research Publications

Mussa, B.M., Sood, S. & Verberne, A.J. (2018). Implication of neurohormonal-coupled mechanisms of gastric emptying and pancreatic secretory function in diabetic gastroparesis. World Journal of Gastroenterology 24: 3821-3833.

Senthilkumaran, M., Bobrovskaya, L., Verberne, A.J.M. & Llewellyn-Smith, I.J. (2018). Insulin-responsive autonomic neurons in rat medulla oblongata. Journal of Comparative Neurology 526: 2665-2682.

Sabetghadam, A., Korim, W.S. & Verberne, A.J. (2017). Perifornical hypothalamic pathway to the adrenal gland: Role for glutamatergic transmission in the glucose counter-regulatory response. Autonomic Neuroscience - Basic & Clinical 203: 67-73

Korim, W.S., Llewellyn-Smith, I.J. & Verberne, A.J. (2016). Activation of medulla-projecting perifornical neurons modulates the adrenal sympathetic response to hypoglycemia: involvement of orexin type 2 (OX2-R) receptors. Endocrinology 157: 810-819.

Verberne, A. J., Korim, W. S., Sabetghadam, A. & Llewellyn-Smith, I. J. (2016). Adrenaline: insights into its metabolic roles in hypoglycaemia and diabetes. British Journal of Pharmacology 173: 1425-1437.

Korim, W.S., Bou-Farah, L., McMullan, S. & Verberne, A.J. (2014). Orexinergic activation of medullary premotor neurons modulates the adrenal sympathoexcitation to hypothalamic glucoprivation. Diabetes 63: 1895-1906.

Verberne, A. J., Sabetghadam, A. & Korim, W.S. (2014). Neural pathways that control the glucose counterregulatory response. Frontiers in Autonomic Neuroscience 8: 1-12.
Mussa, B. M. & Verberne, A.J. (2013). The dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and regulation of pancreatic secretory function. Experimental Physiology 98: 25-37.

Ma, S., Blasiak, A., Olucha-Bordonau, F., Verberne, A.J. & Gundlach, A.L. (2013). Heterogeneous responses of nucleus incertus neurons to corticotrophin-releasing factor and coherent activity with hippocampal theta rhythm in the rat. Journal of Physiology - London 591: 3981-4001.

Verberne, A. J. M. & Llewellyn-Smith, I.J. (2013). Juxtacellular neuronal labelling, physiological characterization and phenotypic identification of single neurons in vivo. Stimulation and inhibition of neurons. P. M. Pilowsky, M. J. Farnham and A. Y. Fong, Humana Press. 78: 167-186.

How, J.M.Y., Fam, B.C., Verberne, A.J. & Sartor, D.M. (2011). High fat diet is associated with blunted splanchnic sympathoinhibitory responses to gastric leptin and cholecystokinin: implications for circulatory control. American Journal of Physiology 300: H961-H967.

Mussa, B. M., Sartor, D.M., Rantzau, C. & Verberne, A.J.  (2011). Effects of nitric oxide synthase blockade on dorsal vagal stimulation-induced pancreatic insulin secretion. Brain Research 1394: 62-70.

Verberne, A. J. (2011). Modulation of autonomic function by the cerebral cortex. In Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions. I. J. Llewellyn-Smith and A. J. Verberne. New York, Oxford University Press: 202-219.

Netzer, F., Bernard, J.F., Verberne, A.J., Hamo, M., Camus, F., Benoliel, J.J. & Sevoz-Couche, C. (2011). Brain circuits mediating baroreflex bradycardia inhibition in rats: an anatomical and functional link between the cuneiform nucleus and the periaqueductal grey. Journal of Physiology   London 589: 2079-2091.

Mussa, B. M., Sartor, D.M. & Verberne, A.J. (2010). Dorsal vagal preganglionic neurons: differential responses to CCK1 and 5-HT3 receptor stimulation. Autonomic Neuroscience - Basic & Clinical 156: 36-43.

Sartor, D. M. & Verberne, A.J. (2010). Gastric leptin: a novel role in cardiovascular regulation. American Journal of Physiology 298: H406-H414.

Verberne, A. J. and D. M. Sartor (2010). Rostroventrolateral medulla neurons modulate glucose homeostasis in the rat. American Journal of Physiology 299: E802-E807.

Research Projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Group Leader Associate Professor Tony Verberne

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Integrative Neurophysiology

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