Study shows how hunger-reducing hormone leptin and certain brain cells can help losing weight
Leptin allows the brain cells to curb appetite and boost energy expenditure, both of which help in regulating body weight
Losing weight is not an easy task. It requires dedication, complex planning, research and expert advice at every step of the way. And even when one has a weight loss plan, one doesn't know the exact specifics of how it aids in weight loss. Now researchers at Rockefeller University, US, have found that the nerve fibres that are present within the fat tissues can affect the ability of the body to burn stored fat.
Leptin: Hunger-inhibiting hormone
Leptin is a hormone which carries the signals between the fat deposits in the body and the brain. It allows the brain cells to curb appetite and boost energy expenditure, both of which help in regulating body weight.
The researchers from the study, published in the journal Nature on 22 July, 2020, genetically engineered mice to stop producing leptin. This made the mice three times heavier than the normal mice as these mice started eating more and moving less. These engineered mice were not able to tolerate the cold because they could not control their body temperature as they could not properly utilise body fat to generate heat.
Then the scientists administered a dose of leptin in these mice. After getting the leptin hormone, these mice started eating less and were more active.
The most surprising fact was that after two weeks of having leptin administered, these mice started breaking down white fat (fat which contains unused calories) and the mice also regained their ability to use brown fat to generate heat.
The brain connection
The head of the study, Dr Paul Cohen from Rockefeller University, used an imaging technique and visualised the nerves inside the fat. The researchers determined the effects of leptin on these nerve cells present in the hypothalamus region of the brain. The scientists found that leptin regulated the agouti-related peptide and pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in the nerve cells of the hypothalamus.
Agouti-related peptide is a small protein-like molecule used by nerve cells that helps in stimulating the appetite and reduces the energy expenditure of the body.
POMC is a hormone present in the nerve cells of the hypothalamus and brainstem which helps in restricting food intake and increases the energy expenditure of the body.
Leptin manages the levels of both these molecules in the nerve cells of the brain. However, the scientists found that animals who lacked leptin or were leptin-resistant and obese also showed less fat deposition.
Fat reduction in people who do not respond to leptin
The scientists found that this agouti-related peptide and POMC in the nerve cells act with the help of brain-derived neurotrophic factor-expressing nerve cells present in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (BDNFPVH).
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a regulator of energy balance which is found in the nerve cells present in paraventricular hypothalamus (PVH).
The scientists found that the depletion of the BDNF gene caused increased hunger, reduced locomotion (movement), reduced ability to maintain body temperature and severe obesity.
The scientists believe that by directly activating BDNFPVH, they will be able to treat obesity in people who do not respond to the leptin hormone.
For more information, read our article on 15 tried and tested tips to lose weight.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.
LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.