Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
Scientists at the University of Washington have used genetic engineering to identify a population of neurons that tell the brain to shut off appetite. Their study, "Genetic identification of a neural circuit that suppresses appetite," was published in Nature.
To identify these neurons, or cells that process and transmit information in the brain, researchers first considered what makes an animal lose its appetite. There are a number of natural reasons, including infection, nausea, pain or simply having eaten too much already.
Nerves within the gut that are distressed or insulted send information to the brain through the vagus nerve. Appetite is suppressed when these messages activate specific neurons - ones that contain CGRP, (calcitonin gene-related peptide) in a region of the brain called the parabrachial nucleus.
In mouse trials, researchers used genetic techniques and viruses to introduce light-activatable proteins into CGRP neurons. Activation of these proteins excites the cells to transmit chemical signals to other regions of the brain. When they activated the CGRP neurons with a laser, the hungry mice immediately lost their appetite and walked away from their liquid diet (Ensure); when the laser was turned off, the mice resumed drinking the liquid diet.
"These results demonstrate that activation of the CGRP-expressing neurons regulates appetite. This is a nice example of how the brain responds to unfavorable conditions in the body, such as nausea caused by food poisoning" said Richard Palmiter, UW professor of biochemistry and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Using a similar approach, neurons in other brain regions have been identified that can stimulate the appetite of mice that are not hungry. Researchers hope to identify the complete neural circuit (wiring diagram) in the brain that regulates feeding behavior. By identifying these neural circuits, scientists may be able to design therapies that promote or decrease appetite.
The study was conducted by Matthew E. Carter in Richard Palmiter's laboratory and Marta E. Soden, in Larry S. Zweifel's laboratory - UW assistant professor of pharmacology.
Funding for this research was provided by the Davis Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation, the Howard Hughes Institute and the National Institutes of Health (R01DA024908) and (R01MH094536).
Genetic identification of a neural circuit that suppresses appetite. Matthew E. Carter, Marta E. Soden, Larry S. Zweifel & Richard D. Palmiter . Nature (2013) doi:10.1038/nature12596 Published online 13 October 2013
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
University of Washington - Health Sciences/UW News. "Identifying neural circuits that regulate feeding behavior could lead to therapies that promote or decrease appetite." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 16 Oct. 2013. Web.
5 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267482>
University of Washington - Health Sciences/UW News. (2013, October 16). "Identifying neural circuits that regulate feeding behavior could lead to therapies that promote or decrease appetite." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact the our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267482.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2013 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.