Obesity caused by lack of Fatty Acids - triggers Overeating
January 16th, 2006
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
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.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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