Researchers at Yale School of Medicine provide direct evidence that two parts of a neuronal system, one that promotes eating and another that suppresses eating, are critical for the acute regulation of eating and body weight, according to a study published online in the September 11 issue of Nature Neuroscience.
The paper makes it clear that the agouti-related peptide-expressing (AgRP) neurons are mandatory for eating. "Previous studies showed that the brain, particularly the hypothalamus, is responsible for the regulation of eating," said co-senior author Tamas Horvath, chair and associate professor in the Section of Comparative Medicine, and associate professor in neurobiology and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences. "But until now, no experimental evidence was available to prove that AgRP neurons are critical for acute regulation of eating."
Horvaths collaborator Jens Bruening of the University of Cologne in Germany introduced the avian diphtheria toxin receptor into neurons in the feeding support system of transgenic mice. When the animals were adults, two injections of toxin caused the specific cell population to die within 48 hours, impairing the mouses ability to eat and resulting in acute anorexia. These mice also showed marked reduction in blood glucose, plasma insulin and Leptin concentrations.
Karen N. Peart | EurekAlert!
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