Journal: PLOS Biology
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Enough already, fat cells tell brain
© Jenny Dettrick/Moment/Getty
Fat cells are not just passive blobs that store energy, but active players that control feeding behaviour, a fruit fly study shows.
A South Korea–based team led by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology identified a fat-derived molecule that tells the fly brain to stop eating when energy reserves are large enough.
The authors showed that there are three enzymes — two in fat cells, one in the brain — that respond to feeding by producing a molecule, called tetrahydrobiopterin, that signals to particular neurons to reduce their expression of an appetite-promoting neurotransmitter.
Because fruit flies and humans share many of the same feeding-related regulatory mechanisms and genes, it’s possible that a similar process controls our food intake. That raises the tantalizing possibility of manipulating this appetite-suppression system to treat weight gain or loss.
The research was published in PLOS Biology.
- PLOS Biology 15, e2000532 (2017). doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2000532
|KAIST Department of Biological Sciences, South Korea||0.60||0.60|
|School of Life Sciences, GIST, South Korea||0.40||0.40|