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Obesity caused by lack of Fatty Acids - triggers Overeating

January 16th, 2006

Obesity caused by lack of Fatty Acids which triggers Overeating

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Researchers have found that controlling fatty-acid levels in the brain could be a “promising way to treat obesity.”   The hypothalamus keeps track of the body’s nutritional status by monitoring the blood levels of several hormones and nutrients. The hypothalamus regulates our energy intake and metabolism.

Dr. Luciano Rossetti, director of the Diabetes Research Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine led the study.  Rossetti’s study shows how the hypothalamus monitors and regulates glucose levels in the body.   The researchers also found that this region in the brain also monitors fatty acid levels and responds by controlling appetite.

The researchers found that rats that lacked the malonyl CoA fatty acid molecule in the hypothalamus tended to overeat.  By restoring the fatty-acid levels may be a new way to treat obesity.


Dr. Rossetti said, "We showed in this study that disrupting malonyl-CoA levels in this region of the brain impairs the nutrient-sensing mechanism by which the hypothalamus modulates food intake to maintain normal weight.  Figuring out a way to re-adjust malonyl-CoA levels in the human hypothalamus could lead to innovative therapies not only to treat obesity but to help prevent diabetes and other consequences of being overweight."

Previous research found that malonyl CoA levels increased in the brain after eating.  While fasting these levels are markedly lower. This spurred the research.  Dr. Rossetti wanted to find out if sustained suppression of the fatty-acid could cause obesity. 


The researchers “piggybacked” and enzyme known to degrade malonyl CoA onto an adeno-associated virus and injected the virus into the hypothalamus of rats.  This decreased the malonyl CoA levels and dramatically increased the rat’s food intake.  The rats became obese and maintained the weight for at least four months.

The study appeared in the January 15th on-line edition of Nature Neuroscience and will appear in the February print edition.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:49 PM