A weight control protein with a key role in the brains ability to monitor body fat content may yield new approaches for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a new report in the August issue of Cell Metabolism. The findings in mice further suggest that particular variants of the protein SH2-B might underlie obesity in humans, the researchers said.
SH2-B, which has multiple functions in cells throughout the body, keeps the brain sensitive to the fat hormone leptin, found researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School. Produced by fat tissue, the leptin hormone sends signals to the brain about the bodys fat content. That signal, in turn, elicits adjustments in appetite and energy expenditure to maintain normal body weight.
Mice lacking SH2-B overeat and become obese, the team found. The animals additionally develop a metabolic syndrome characterized by high blood concentrations of leptin, insulin, and lipids. They also develop fatty livers and high blood sugar, the group reports.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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