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Insulin action in the brain can lead to obesity
Date:6/6/2011

e found, however.

In order to find out how insulin acts in the brain, the Cologne-based scientists compared mice that lacked an insulin receptor on the SF-1 neurons with mice whose insulin receptors were intact. With normal food consumption, the researchers discovered no difference between the two groups. This would indicate that insulin does not exercise a key influence on the activity of these cells in slim individuals. However, when the rodents were fed high-fat food, those with the defective insulin receptor remained slim, while their counterparts with functional receptors rapidly gained weight. The weight gain was due to both an increase in appetite and reduced calorie expenditure. This effect of insulin could constitute an evolutionary adaptation by the body to an irregular food supply and extended periods of hunger: if an excess supply of high-fat food is temporarily available, the body can lay down energy reserves particularly effectively through the action of insulin.

It is not currently possible to say whether the findings of this research will eventually help to facilitate targeted intervention in the body's energy balance. "We are currently still very far away from a practical application," says Jens Brning. "Our objective is to find out how hunger and the feeling of satiety arise. Only when we understand the entire system at work here, we will be able to start developing treatments."


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Contact: Professor Jens C. Brning
bruening@nf.mpg.de
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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