Clues to curbing obesity found in brain's "sweet spot"
Weight gain and obesity may be prevented by deactivating a nuclear receptor in the brain, according to a new study.
Scientists at Yale School of Medicine examined the effects of blocking a nuclear receptor known as PPARgamma in the brain cells of mice. Over time, the researchers observed that the mice began to eat less and became resistant to a high-fat diet. Both the experimental group of mice and a control group continued to eat fat and sugar, but the former group did not gain weight, while the control group did.
The researchers chose to block the PPARgamma receptors in the brain because they are responsible for producing neurons known as POMC, which are found in the hypothalamus and work to regulate food intake and make you feel full. By blocking the PPARgamma in the brain cells, the researchers were able to increase formation and activity of POMC neurons.
The study's findings, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest that they may be able to prevent obesity associated with a high-fat, high-sugar diet. Furthermore, current drugs to treat diabetes target PPARgamma, but such medications often lead to weight gain in patients. The researchers said additional studies may lead to the development of new diabetes treatments without the side efffect of weight gain.