Navigation Links
Brain 'Master Switch' May Control Appetite, Fertility
Date:8/31/2008

Mouse study shows genetic link to signals telling body when it's full, safe to mate

SUNDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A new study has found a "master switch" in the brain of mice that helps control both body weight and fertility.

It is well known that body weight and fertility are related to each other: Women who are too thin, for example, often have trouble getting pregnant. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found one reason why.

For a study published ahead of print in the Aug. 31 online edition of Nature Medicine, researchers studied a gene known as TORC1 in mice.

By creating mice that lacked one or both copies of TORC1, the researchers found that the gene affected both body weight and fertility. Specifically, the mice without the gene looked fine at birth, but at about eight weeks, they began to gain weight and became persistently obese in adulthood. And, to the researchers surprise, both sexes of these mice were infertile.

"This gene is crucial to the daisy chain of signals that run between body fat and the brain," study author Marc Montminy, a professor in the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, said in a Salk Institute press release. "It likely plays a pivotal role in how much we, as humans, eat and whether we have offspring."

Montminy says that the TORC1 gene is just as important as the appetite-regulating hormone leptin, which turns on TORC1.

"Leptin tells the brain that times are good, your body is full, and that it is not necessary to eat more at the moment," said Montminy.

When leptin binds with its receptor in brain cells, it turns on TORC1, telling the body that it is well-fed and activating genes that suppress appetite and allow reproduction. When leptin is not activating the brain receptors, on the other hand, TORC1 is turned off, and the genes that suppress appetite and allow reproduction are inactive.

"Controlling appetite and reproduction together provides a big evolutionary advantage," Montminy said. "If there is no food, the brain believes the body should not reproduce, because without body fat, a baby's growth in the womb could be stunted, and without food to replenish the body's energy reserves, there will be nothing to feed the offspring."

The researchers also found that the mice that inherited only one TORC1 gene were able to reproduce but gained more weight than the normal mice.

"This suggests that half of the dose of TORC switch is enough to cause problems in leptin signaling in the brain, and it may be that subtle mutations in the TORC1 in humans could be responsible for an inheritable risk factor for gaining weight," said Montminy.

Montminy thinks that this research could lead to new therapies that tweak mutated and inefficient TORC genes.

"TORC1 is regulated by phosphate handling enzymes called kinases, and kinases often make for very good drug targets," he said.

More information

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has more about weight and fertility.



-- Krisha McCoy



SOURCE: Salk Institute, news release, Aug. 31, 2008


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Draining away brains toxic protein to stop Alzheimers
2. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
3. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
4. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
5. Brain cells work differently than previously thought
6. Vaccine Stops Alzheimers Brain Tangles
7. Research may unlock mystery of autisms origin in the brain
8. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
9. Free will takes flight: how our brains respond to an approaching menace
10. Alcoholics With Cirrhosis Have More Brain Damage
11. Brain Lesions Predict MS Progression
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... February 19, 2017 , ... Braun Industries will be participating ... Exposition, the event will take place February 23-25, 2017 at the Calvin L. Rampton ... Booth #909 with three new ambulances on display. , “JEMS is ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... leading source of disruptive innovation in the industry, according to the recent NEJM ... are based on surveys of the NEJM Catalyst Insights Council, a qualified group ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... February 18, 2017 , ... A new ... and contact points to easily connect elderly veterans of America's armed forces to ... funding. It also conveys material on this year's increase in the Veterans Pension ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... For the ... management solution to the exhibit floor for the 2017 HIMSS Conference & ... From Feb. 19–23, 2017, more than 40,000 healthcare industry professionals are expected at ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., February 19-23. Visitors to the company’s booth ... most widely used electronic patient signatures solution in healthcare . , Since ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/17/2017)... 2017 According to a new market research ... Counters), Application (Cleanroom Monitoring, Contamination Monitoring of Liquids), and End User ... MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to reach USD 330.6 Million by ... 3.7% from 2016 to 2021. Continue ... ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... 2017 Theravance Biopharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... today announced the presentation of positive clinical data ... pan-Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor designed to be intestinally ... the European Crohn,s and Colitis Organization (ECCO). In ... from its completed Phase 1 study of single-ascending ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the addition ... report to their offering. ... report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Canada ... Asia-Pacific , and Rest of World. Annual estimates and forecasts ... analysis is provided for these markets. Market data and analytics are derived ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: