News & Views

  • High-Fat Diet Weakens 'Stop Eating' Signals in Mice

High-Fat Diet Weakens 'Stop Eating' Signals in Mice

Jul 10 2019 Read 321 Times

In a breakthrough study that could help tackle the global obesity epidemic, a team of researchers has discovered that high-fat diets can result in a loss of 'brake' signals used to control appetite. In experiments conducted on mice, the team found that certain foods can influence the body's drive to eat and stop glutamatergic nerve cells from sending "full" signals to the brain.

Fatty diets trigger obesity in mice

The findings were published in the journal Science and explain how mice that were fed high-fat chow for just two weeks experienced a slump in the activity of brain cells responsible for sending "stop eating" signals to the brain. For the team, the results offer new insight into the underlying relationship between eating habits and appetite. The study also reinforces the dangers of overeating and serves as a reminder that while natural appetite cues are critical to survival, when thrown off balance they can have a serious impact on health.

Garret Stuber, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle explains how the brain is equipped with a multitude of appetite systems designed to ensure the body receives enough food and energy. These systems are in an area of the brain known as the lateral hypothalamus, which is directly involved in eating behaviours. It's made up of a large number of diverse cells, including a group known as glutamatergic nerves. When investigating the impact of a high-fat diet Stuber and his team found that cellular glutamatergic nerve activity in obese mice was significantly slower than in their lean counterparts.

A slump in glutamatergic cell activity  

The study built on previous research suggesting that glutamatergic cells act as a 'brake' to curb the appetite and send "fullness" signals to the brain. The new research published in Science confirms that high fat diets block glutamatergic nerve cells and stop them from firing signals, which spurs an increase in appetite and triggers a gradual shift towards obesity.

“Obesity doesn’t just happen overnight,” explains Stuber. Instead, he asserts it can be a slow transition aided by sluggish glutamatergic cells activity as a result of a high-fat diet. For neuroscientist Stephanie Borgland, the results suggest that “these cells’ decreased activity is removing the brake on feeding and obesity.”

The role of the hypothalamus

While it's unclear if a high fat diet in humans triggers the same blockage of appetite-suppressing nerve cells, brain-imaging studies suggest that the hypothalamus, the same region of the brain associated with eating behaviours in mice, is also involved in signalling hunger and fullness.

University research plays a pivotal role in advancing scientific research. For a closer look at Diamond Light Source, the UK's state-of-the-art national synchrotron science facility on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, don't miss 'Accelerating innovation in virtually all fields of research'.

Reader comments

Do you like or dislike what you have read? Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. To leave comments please complete the form below. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. Leaving comments on product information and articles can assist with future editorial and article content. Post questions, thoughts or simply whether you like the content.

Post a Comment




Digital Edition

International Labmate July 2019

July 2019

In This Edition Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy - 67th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics - Modular MS Bench System with Integrated Gas Supply for Sciex LC-MS/MS Unveile...

View all digital editions

Events

AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

Aug 04 2019 Anaheim, CA, USA

M&M 2019

Aug 04 2019 Portland, OR, USA

DXC 2019

Aug 05 2019 Lombard, IL, USA

ACS National Meeting & Expo, Fall 2019

Aug 25 2019 San Diego, CA, USA

Microscopy Conference 2019

Sep 01 2019 Berlin, Germany

View all events