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Action of ghrelin hormone increases appetite and favors accumulation of abdominal fat
Date:5/20/2009

This release is available in Spanish.

The ghrelin hormone not only stimulates the brain giving rise to an increase in appetite, but also favours the accumulation of lipids in visceral fatty tissue, located in the abdominal zone and considered to be the most harmful. This is the conclusion of research undertaken at Metabolic Research Laboratory of the University Hospital of Navarra, published recently in the International Journal of Obesity.

Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach and the function of which is to tell the brain that the body has to be fed. Thus, the level of this secretion increases before eating and decreases after. It is known to be important in the development of obesity, given that, on stimulating the appetite, it favours an increase in body weight, explained Ms Amaia Rodrguez Murueta-Goyena, doctor in biology and main researcher of the study.

However, researchers at the University Hospital of Navarra have discovered that, besides stimulating the hypothalamus to generate appetite, ghrelin also acts on the tabula rasa cortex. They observed how this hormone favoured the accumulation of lipids in visceral fatty tissue. In concrete, it causes the over-expression of the fatty genes that take part in the retention of lipids, explained Ms Rodrguez.

It is precisely this accumulated fat in the region of the abdomen that is deemed to be most harmful, as it is accompanied by comorbilities, visceral obesity being related to higher blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. Moreover, being located in the abdominal zone and in direct contact with the liver, this type of fatty tissue favours the formation of liver fat and increases the risk of developing resistance to insulin. Normally, on being associated with hypertension, high levels of triglycerides, resistance to insulin and hypercholesterolemia, visceral fat favours
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Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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