FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The molecule ghrelin, "mediates feeding and probably has a function in growth regulation by stimulating feeding and release of growth hormone," says Masamitsu Nakazato of Miyazaki Medical College, Kiyotake, Japan and colleagues in this week’s Nature (Vol. 409, No. 6817, 11 Jan 2001, pp. 194–198).
When the researchers injected ghrelin into the brains of rats, the animals ate more and gained weight. Conversely, a ghrelin blocker "robustly suppressed feeding". "Further investigations of ghrelin’s function will help our understanding of physiological feeding mechanisms and should facilitate the study of eating disorders," says Nakazato’s group.
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