Navigation Links
Brain cells determine obesity -- not lack of willpower: Study

An international study has discovered the reason why some people who eat a high-fat diet remain slim, yet others pile on the weight.

The study, led in Australia by the Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute (MODI) at Monash University, found a high-fat diet causes brain cells to become insulated from the body preventing vital signals, which tell the body to stop eating and to burn energy, from reaching the brain efficiently.

MODI director and Australian Life Scientist of the Year Professor Michael Cowley said there were two clear outcomes from the findings.

'We discovered that a high-fat diet caused brain cells to become insulated from the body, rendering the cells unable to detect signals of fullness to stop eating," Professor Cowley said.

"Secondly, the insulation also created a further complication in that the body was unable to detect signals to increase energy use and burn off calories/kilojoules."

The research showed that support cells in the brain developed overgrowth in a high-fat diet. This prevented the regular brain cells (the melanocortin system or POMC neurons) from connecting with other neural mechanisms, which determine appetite and energy expenditure.

Professor Cowley said the study findings provide a critical link in addressing the obesity epidemic.

"These neuronal circuits regulate eating behaviours and energy expenditure and are a naturally occurring process in the brain. The circuits begin to form early in life so that people may have a tendency towards obesity even before they eat their first meal," Professor Cowley said.

Eating a high fat diet causes more "insulation" in the nerve cells, and makes it even harder for the brain to help a person lose weight.

"Obese people are not necessarily lacking willpower. Their brains do not know how full or how much fat they have stored, so the brain does not tell the body to stop refuelling. Subsequently, their body's ability to lose weight is significantly reduced."

Professor Cowley and fellow MODI researcher Dr Pablo Enriori collaborated with Research Chair and Professor of Comparative Medicine and Professor of Neurobiology Tamas Horvath and his team at the Yale School of Medicine in the United States, together with teams of scientists in Cincinnati, New Jersey, Mexico and Spain.

For a period of four months, the researchers monitored the eating and body composition of groups of mice and rats and found that those with a neural predisposition to obesity gained 30 per cent more weight compared to six per cent of the group with obesity-resistant cells.


Contact: Samantha Blair
Monash University

Related biology news :

1. Cockroach brains could be rich stores of new antibiotics
2. The brain speaks
3. Insect brains are rich stores of new antibiotics
4. Major moral decisions use general-purpose brain circuits to manage uncertainty
5. Research heralds potential for early diagnosis of degenerative brain disorders
6. New study sheds light on painkilling system in brain
7. Gene scan finds link across array of childhood brain disorders
8. Brain connections break down as we age
9. Brain gene expression changes when honey bees go the distance
10. Boston Univ., Veterans Affairs find sports brain trauma may cause disease mimicking ALS
11. Saving the brains white matter with mutated mice
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)...  Based on its in-depth analysis of the biometric ... the 2015 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Product ... this award to the company that has developed the ... the market it serves. The award recognizes the extent ... customer base demands, the overall impact it has in ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... PARIS , November 17, 2015 ... 17 au 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris ... 2015.  --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation ... à la fois passeports et empreintes sur la même ... pour les passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for use ... chemical discovery information management tools. The partnership will ... share both biological and chemical research information internally ... tools will be used for managing the Institute,s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 The Global Genomics ... professional and in-depth study on the current state ... ) , The report ... definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The ... markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will be ... York on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 ... CEO, will provide a corporate overview. th Annual ... 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola , ... corporate overview. --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered in ... has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 of 2015.  ... Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... the establishment of an Asia-Pacific office to ... and Mexico , with the establishment ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 --> ... report released by Transparency Market Research, the global non-invasive ... CAGR of 17.5% during the period between 2014 and ... Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and ... testing market to reach a valuation of US$2.38 bn ...
Breaking Biology Technology: