A team of researchers from the USA, Sweden and U.K. has found that certain brain cells involved in limiting overeating in mice became less active after the mice were fed a fatty diet. In their paper published in the journal Science the group describes their experiments with over-feeding test mice and what they learned. Stephanie Borgland, with the University of Calgary, has published a Perspective piece in the same journal issue describing the work done by the team.
Most people who become obese know that the more they overestimate fatty foods, the harder it seems to stop. In this new effort, researchers may have uncovered part of the cause. In their experiments, the team cut holes in the test mouse skulls and plugged them with small windows to cling to brain neurons using a special microscope. They then fed the mice a fat diet and watched that the mice slowly became overweight.
The researchers focused most specifically on brain activity in the lateral hypothalamus. It is part of the brain that previous research has shown is involved in starvation regulation. More specifically, it has been found that glutamatergic nerve cells in the lateral hypothalamus are involved in suppressing hunger. Their job is to tell mice when they have had enough to eat. In experiments where these cells were deactivated, mice became overeaters. But so far it was not known how such cells behaved in their living, "turn-on" state when mice became overeaters.
The researchers report it only two weeks into low fat diet regimen, glutamatergic nerve cells in the mice became less active during both spontaneous behavior and when they received a sugar water sugar. They further report that the reduction of activity continued as the mice were fed the fatty diet for 1
It is not known whether the same types of cells in humans behave in the same way, but the researchers note that previous research has shown that the hypothalamus in humans is involved in the regulation of hunger.
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Mark A. Rossi et al. Obesity rebuilds the activity and transcription state of a lateral hypothalamic brake at birth, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126 / science.aax1184
Stephanie L. Borgland. Release of the brake by eating, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126 / science.aay0204
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Brain cells that slow down overeating have found decreased activity in mice on a fatty diet (2019, June 28)
June 29, 2019
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