Researchers have homed in on a brain mechanism that reduces food intake and affects the availability of blood glucose. The results, published in the June issue of Nature Medicine, open the door to new ways of thinking about obesity and type II diabetes.
Luciano Rossetti and colleagues focused on the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that affects food intake. In experiments with mice, they examined how neurons in the hypothalamus respond to increased concentrations of long-chain fatty acids by decreasing glucose production in the liver and relying on fats -- rather than carbohydrates -- as a source of fuel.
The investigators found that inhibiting a critical enzyme in cells of the hypothalamus markedly diminished food intake and glucose production. The intricate mechanisms involved suggest a complex interplay between glucose and fatty acids that may help regulate body weight. Because type II diabetes results from problems in glucose metabolism, drugs that target brain circuits could perhaps be useful in combating both obesity and type II diabetes.
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(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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