Researchers are now one step closer to understanding how the human body works when it comes to processing fats. A team of scientists from the Scripps Research Institute has identified a brain hormone capable of burning out fat, regardless of how much we eat.
Scientists may have found a way to induce fat burning in a living organism regardless of its food intake. Lab tests performed on roundworms from the C. Elegans genus have revealed that a certain brain hormone is responsible for activating the gut’s fat burning process. The scientists opted for roundworms, since the critter’s brain have roughly the same signaling molecules as the human brain.
According to the team, in order to track down the gene responsible for fat burning, they have suppressed the worms’ genes one by one. The result of this rather complex elimination process was that the scientists discovered that the investigating fat-burning gene also coded brain hormone FLP-7.
Believe it or not, according to Lavinia Palamiuc, the study’s author, the elusive FLP-7 brain hormone was actually discovered more than 80 years ago by a team of scientists who observed that this hormone induced muscle contraction in pig intestines.
To determine how the entire system works, Palamiuc and her team tagged the FLP-7 with a red protein and observed the process. The study’s author explained that in the presence of high serotonin levels, FLP-7 travels from the brain to the gut where it triggers the fat burning process.
More specifically, after a certain brain area detects food via sensorial cues, it triggers the production of serotonin. Subsequently, another area of the brain produces the FLP-7 gene which travels from the brain all the way to the gut using the circulatory system. Once there, it activates a receptor found in the intestinal cells, thus triggering the fat burning process.
The scientists also observed that the process remains the same, regardless of the food intake. As for the importance of this discovery, Palamiuc and her team declared that the perspective of having discovered how a system works is promising, as it paves the way for new fat burning interventions based on gene editing.
The team added that although the producer works remarkably well on roundworms, they believe that they can adapt it for clinical use. The result might be a new line of pharmaceutical compounds, which can help people manage their weight more efficiently.
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