Blocking The Satiety Hormone Can Prevent Obesity
Leptin, also known as the satiety hormone, regulates the amount of fat stored in the body and energy metabolism. Researchers discovered that signals sent by the hormone to the brain region, the hypothalamus, related to hunger perception can be blocked to prevent excessive intake of food.
For the study, experts tested mice whose leptin receptors in the non-neuronal glial cells were suppressed. They observed eating and physical activity of these mice once every five days. It was found that mice significantly reduced their overall food intake but had heightened responses to Ghrelin, a hunger hormone released in the gastrointestinal tract.
"Up until now, the scientific community thought that leptin acts exclusively in neurons to modulate behavior and body weight," said Tamas Horvath Professor of Biomedical Research and chair of comparative medicine at Yale School of Medicine in a news release. "This work is now changing that paradigm."
Leptins produced in fat cells send messages to the brain about the metabolic state. The absence of leptin or leptin receptor leads to obesity and unrestrained food eating.