Gut hormone secretin can do more than previously believed
The long known gut hormone secretin has a newly discovered, additional function: It activates thermogenesis in brown fat, which triggers saturation.
Scientists of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in collaboration with an international team have succeeded in this important step.
Only a few weeks ago it was proven that brown fat is just as strongly activated by a meal as by cold. Now, the same team, led by Professor Martin Klingenspor, Head of the Chair for Molecular Nutritional Medicine at Else Kröner-Fresenius Center (EKFZ) at TU Munich, in collaboration with Finnish researchers, has elucidated the physiological mechanism of this activation.
"We surprisingly identified secretin as the decisive factor," reports Professor Martin Klingenspor. Secretin is a intestinal hormone that has been known for a long time. Previously, nutritional medicine assumed that this peptide hormone essentially controlled gastrointestinal functions.
This is, for example, to stimulate the secretion of water and bicarbonate from the pancreas as soon as the acidified stomach content passes into the small intestine. In addition, secretin is supposed to promote the feeling of fullness (satiation) in the brain. So far the state of knowledge until recently.
Secretin triggers energy expenditure
Applying molecular biology techniques (transcriptome sequencing), the study found that the secretin receptor is also expressed in brown adipose tissue. "Stimulation of this receptor with secretin led to an immediate activation of non-shivering thermogenesis in brown adipocytes." explained the expert.
Communication between brown fat and the brain
Non-shivering thermogenesis is the mechanism of heat production characteristic for brown adipose tissue, but it does not just dissipate energy. The study specifically revealed that non-shivering thermogenesis is also the prerequisite for the brain to signal satiation. This requires communication between the brown fat and the brain, with three possible routes:
1. A rise in brain temperature
2. nerves transmitting information from brown fat to brain, or
3. special endocrine mediators secreted by brown adipose tissue, known as BATokines.
Professor Martin Klingenspor sees heat formation itself as the most plausible possibility at present: "Thermogenesis in brown fat leads to blood warming and a slight increase in the temperature of the brain; this activates neurons that signal satiation.”
Brown fat plays key role in satiation
Based on these findings, the previous view that secretin directly acts on specific neurons in the brain, thereby leading to a feeling of satiation and dampening the feeling of hunger, has to be revised. "Brown adipose tissue can be regarded as a relay station in between gut and brain," said the expert, summarizing the findings.
The newly established communication line between gut and brain is initiated by secretin release during a meal, followed by secretin-induced thermogenesis in brown fat, and a rise in brain temperature that triggers satiation. Thereby, meal-associated thermogenesis in brown fat dissipates energy and promotes meal termination. — both crucial factors for the therapy and prevention of the global obesity epidemic.
Naturally stimulate secretin release and feel full faster
Would secretin be the right "medicine" in this context? "No," clarifies Klingenspor. This is because a permanent stimulation of the pancreas would be unfavorable. However, he sees a potential in the natural stimulation of secretin production via certain foods.
"The right starter before a meal could make people feel full faster and thereby reduce the total amount of calories consumed." The question of which nutrients could fall under this category will be the subject of further studies.
Professor Martin Klingenspor
Technical University of Munich
Else Kröner-Fresenius Center for Nutritional Medicine
Chair for Molecular Nutritional Medicine
Phone: +49(8161) 71 - 2386
Yongguo Li*, Katharina Schnabl*, Sarah-Madeleine Gabler, Monja Willershäuser, Josefine Reber, Angelos Karlas, Sanna Laurila, Minna Lahesmaa, Mueez u Din, Andrea Bast-Habersbrunner, Kirsi A. Virtanen, Tobias Fromme, Florian Bolze, Libbey S. O’Farrell, Jorge Alsina-Fernandez, Tamer Coskun, Vasilis Ntziachristos, Pirjo Nuutila, and Martin Klingenspor: Secretin-Activated Brown Fat Mediates Prandial Thermogenesis to Induce Satiation, Cell 11/2018. *equal contribution https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.016
Dr. Ulrich Marsch | Technische Universität München
Magic number colloidal clusters
13.12.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Record levels of mercury released by thawing permafrost in Canadian Arctic
13.12.2018 | University of Alberta
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
13.12.2018 | Life Sciences
13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences