Fat Lady

Gluttony is one of the prime reasons why we seem to be losing the obesity battle. In such a scenario, scientists from the Georgetown University Medical Center have disclosed a mutant gene that is apparently responsible for the ever-increasing appetite observed in certain individuals.

In the research, the investigators found how a mutation in the neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) gene did not allow neurons to absorb leptin and insulin signals. Both these hormones regulate appetite by informing the body when to stop the feeding process.

Senior investigator, Baoji Xu, Ph.D., an associate professor of pharmacology and physiology at Georgetown, commented, “This is the first time protein synthesis in dendrites, tree-like extensions of neurons, has been found to be critical for control of weight. This discovery may open up novel strategies to help the brain control body weight.”

When these signals did not reach the respective portions in the brain, eating prolonged, as observed in a set of mice. In many human clinical trials too, the role of the aforesaid gene had been observed with regards to obesity.

The team is on the lookout for drugs to spur the expression of the (Bdnf) gene in the hypothalamus of the brain. Basically, when this gene is switched off, the communication between neurons is disrupted. They are unable to comprehend the signals of the appetite hormones, thereby increasing one’s hunger.

This could be duly fueling the obesity opidemic, the scientists concluded. The report is published in the journal, Nature Medicine.