Researchers found a group of brain cells that control appetite, and activating them can curb the feeling of hunger. The findings could help to controls the obesity epidemic.
Obesity rates are on the rise around the globe, and the United States is home to a veritable obesity epidemic. However, a team of researchers from the University of Warwick, made a groundbreaking discovery that could transform dieting and weight loss practices.
The scientists found that a group of cells called tanycytes communicate with the brain directly to “tell” it to stop the sensation of hunger.
Tanycytes are non-neuronal cells located in hypothalamus. These cells may control energy levels and body weight. More specifically, tanycytes can detect glucose in the cerebrospinal fluid. But, scientists show how these cells signal satiety by detecting certain nutrients in food. But, the new research shows that essential amino acids can activate these cells and make us feel less hungry.
Nicholas Dale, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Warwick, and the team used calcium imaging to make the cells fluorescent and track them in vivo. They added several essential and non-essential amino acids to these brain cells.
Tanycytes responded to two essential amino acids, lysine and arginine. The amino acids sending signals to other parts of the hypothalamus within 30 seconds that control appetite.
After removing the genes that control the receptors responsible for detecting the umami taste in mice. The researchers found that tanycytes no longer responded to the amino acids. The amino acids detected umami taste receptors, mediating the relationship between the amino acids and the brain cells. In humans, the umami taste refers to the savory taste of glutamate. It characterizes most non-aromatic amino acids.
Nicholas Dale, said, amino acid levels in blood and brain following a very important signal that imparts the sensation of feeling full.
According to the latest estimates, body mass index (BMI) rates have increased across the globe by 0.4 kilograms per square meter, per decade.
But the new findings point to a new avenue for tackling the obesity crisis. By changing our diets, we could activate tanycytes quicker, reach the feeling of satiety, and reduce food intake.
The authors suggest that the hypothalamus circuits responsible for appetite control could change with dietary interventions.
Studies demonstrated that tanycytes can generate new neurons, means the neuronal networks of the hypothalamus highly plastic and can remodel by diet.
More information: [Molecular Metabolism]