Brown fat linked to satiety cues
© Planet Flem/Getty
Brown fat does more than just turn food into body heat. According to a study led by scientists at the Technical University of Munich, this ‘good’ fat also interacts with a gut hormone to tell the brain when to stop eating.
The study revealed a previously unknown connection between the gut, the brain and brown fat tissue — a finding that could lead to new treatments for obesity and diabetes.
The researchers injected hungry mice with secretin, a hormone normally released during meals to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes. The hormone both suppressed the animals’ appetites and increased their heat production — but only when brown tissue was active, highlighting the importance of the fat in causing the feeling of satiety.
In human volunteers, higher levels of secretin in the blood also corresponded to more metabolically active brown fat.
- Cell 175, 1561–1574.e12 (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.016