Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hormone helps mice 'hibernate,' survive starvation

06.06.2007
A key hormone enables starving mice to alter their metabolism and “hibernate” to conserve energy, revealing a novel molecular target for drugs to treat human obesity and metabolic disorders, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

The starvation-fighting effects of the hormone, called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), are described for the first time in a study appearing online today in Cell Metabolism.

FGF21, triggered in starving mice by a specific cellular receptor that controls the use of fat as energy, spurs a metabolic shift to burning stored fats instead of carbohydrates and induces a hibernation-like state of decreased body temperature and physical activity, all geared to promote survival.

“This hormone changes the metabolism and behavior of mice in the face of inadequate nutrition,” said Dr. Steven Kliewer, professor of molecular biology and pharmacology at UT Southwestern and the study’s senior author. “We hope to manipulate this hormone-receptor signaling pathway to craft the next generation of drugs to combat human obesity and other conditions.”

... more about:
»FGF21 »Kliewer »PPAR-alpha »starvation

Mammals on the brink of starvation normally shift their main fuel source from carbohydrates to stored fats, promoting survival during foodless periods. Some mammals also enter a hibernation-like state of regulated hypothermia, known as torpor, which conserves energy.

The molecular driver behind this reaction to starvation, however, had been unknown.

To find an answer, UT Southwestern researchers and other scientists examined potential molecular cues and cellular interactions at play during starvation and fasting.

They focused on a nuclear receptor – a protein that turns genes on and off in the body – called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha, or PPAR-alpha, which is known to control the use of fat as energy. Starving mice without PPAR-alpha become hypoglycemic and quickly die.

In analyzing the molecular impact of PPAR-alpha in mice, the researchers found that it stimulates production of FGF21, a member of a hormone family that has been shown to lower blood glucose levels in diabetic and obese mice.

FGF21, in turn, stimulates the use of stored fats as energy and causes torpor. In properly fed mice, FGF21 is not normally active; however, when the researchers introduced FGF21 into these mice, the animals’ metabolism changed.

“When mice were given this hormone, their metabolism appeared as if they were starved, even after they had just eaten,” said Dr. Kliewer.

Because limiting food consumption is known to have a range of beneficial effects, such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood, Dr. Kliewer is interested in understanding how FGF21 impacts these processes.

“We want to see if we can get some benefits of eating less without actually eating less,” he said.

Manipulating the PPAR-alpha-FGF21 signaling pathway might ultimately prove to be a vital part of the ongoing search for new therapies for human obesity and other metabolic conditions, Dr. Kliewer said.

“Given that the PPAR-alpha receptor already is the target of drugs that work to boost high-density lipoproteins, or the ‘good’ cholesterol, and reduce the amount of fat in the blood, we believe this new pathway may lead to a new class of drugs that will impact many human conditions,” he said.

Cliff Despres | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

Further reports about: FGF21 Kliewer PPAR-alpha starvation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>