New findings about the brain lead to treatment for eating disturbances

In the latest issue of the prestigious journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Uppsala University researcher Jarl Wikberg and one of his associates present a review of pioneering research in this field that he and other scientists have conducted over nearly two decades.

The mapping of the melanocortin system was made possible by the cloning of genes for five different melanocortin receptors, which was performed by Jarl Wikberg in collaboration with other researchers in the early 1990s.

“The melanocortin system monitors the energy balance and regulates how much we eat and how much energy the body uses. The result of all of this is that we maintain our body weight,” says Jarl Wikberg.

But things can go wrong. It is a highly complex system, and even tiny imbalances can entail major changes. For instance, the melanocortin system is exposed to great genetic variations, and many mutations lead to extreme obesity in early ages. Such mutations are found in 3–6 percent of children who have these problems.

“There are also mutations that affect the system in the opposite direction, and these may be an explanation for anorexia.”

These discoveries have prompted most major drug companies to develop drugs that target melanocortin receptors, for the treatment of eating disorders. Interestingly, the same system has also been shown to be involved in the regulation of sexual behavior, and this has resulted in the creation of drugs for treating diminished sex drive as well.

“In men such treatment has become accepted, but it is still controversial to treat women. It will be interesting to see how an effective treatment for diminished sex drive will be received in the future,” says Jarl Wikberg.

Media Contact

Anneli Waara idw

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Health and Medicine

This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.

Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

New calculation refines comparison of matter with antimatter

Theorists publish improved prediction for the tiny difference in kaon decays observed by experiments. -An international collaboration of theoretical physicists–including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National…

New study identifies wheat varieties that resist the destructive stripe rust disease

Stripe rust is one of the most destructive wheat diseases in the world, especially in the United States. While the disease can be controlled by chemicals, those may be harmful…

Hubble captures crisp new image of Jupiter and Europa

This latest image of Jupiter, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope on 25 August 2020, was captured when the planet was 653 million kilometres from Earth. Hubble’s sharp view…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close