A molecule that makes mammals feel full up has been identified, and drugs that target it may help to treat obesity.
Appetite is regulated, at least in part, in a brain region called the hypothalamus. In a paper published online by Nature, Masatomo Mori and colleagues show that a fragment of the secreted protein NUCB2, dubbed nesfatin-1, is expressed in this control centre and induces a feeling of satiety.
When nesfatin-1 is injected into the brain, rats eat less and begin to lose weight. When nesfatin-1 is blocked, animals eat more.
Masatomo Mori (Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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