Obese people have something to look forward to – A possible cure

31/07/2017

Scientists have identified two new populations of cells in the brain that regulate appetite and may help develop drugs to treat obesity by controlling hunger signals.
"Obesity is generally associated with leptin resistance and our recent data suggest that modulation of the activity of specific neurons with drugs could bypass leptin resistance and provide a new means for reducing body weight," said Jeffrey Friedman, professor at Rockefeller University in the US.
Researchers located the two types of cells in a part of the brainstem called the dorsal raphe nucleus.
The team zeroed in on the dorsal raphe nucleus, or DRN, when a whole-brain imaging revealed that this part of the brain becomes activated in hungry mice.
Subsequent imaging of other mice that were fed more than their normal amount of food, until they were full, revealed a different pattern of DRN activity.
These results indicated quite clearly that neurons in that part of the brain played a role in feeding behaviour, researchers said.
They then determined which of the several types of neurons that make up the DRN were involved.
Genetic analysis of the activated cells in the two groups of mice showed that the neurons triggered by a full belly released glutamate, a chemical that nerve cells use to signal one another, while the neurons triggered by hunger released a different neurotransmitter, known as GABA.

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