Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

OHSU Scientists Locate, Characterize Key Hormone Involved In Appetite Control

Date:
February 21, 2003
Source:
Oregon Health & Science University
Summary:
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have identified a key hormone involved in appetite control and demonstrated its effect on the brain. Scientists have shown that the hormone, called ghrelin, activates specialized neurons in the hypothalamus involved in weight regulation.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have identified a key hormone involved in appetite control and demonstrated its effect on the brain. Scientists have shown that the hormone, called ghrelin, activates specialized neurons in the hypothalamus involved in weight regulation. The research involved scientists at several collaborating institutions, including: Yale Medical School, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Alberta and Lilly Research Laboratories. The results are printed in the Feb. 20 edition of the journal Neuron. Researchers believe this information could be used to develop drugs aimed at stimulating appetite in patients who have undergone extreme weight loss due to illness, a condition known as cachexia. These pharmaceuticals could also assist children who are developing at a slower than normal rate. Conversely, drugs aimed at limiting production of the hormone might be developed to reduce appetite for those battling severe obesity.

"Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach with the ability to stimulate feeding when introduced to specialized weight regulation brain cells called neuropeptide Y neurons. In fact, past research has shown that when ghrelin levels are increased in mice for an extended period, the mice gain weight," said Michael Cowley, Ph.D., an assistant scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center and lead author of the study. "In both mice and humans, ghrelin levels increase naturally in response to weight loss or reduced caloric intake. As expected, the hormone diminishes in response to food intake. In other words, it's believed to be part of the body's natural signaling system which informs the brain when it's time to eat."

To pinpoint and witness the effects of ghrelin in the brain, the scientists used a method pioneered by OHSU researchers Cowley, Roger Cone, Ph.D., and Malcolm Low, M.D., Ph.D. The researchers used a fluorescent protein to highlight certain neurons, making the brain cells distinguishable from other surrounding neurons. They then used tiny electrodes to record cell activity in response to ghrelin.

"It is remarkable how such a relatively small group of interconnected neurons deep in the brain coordinate the daily signals of hunger and satiety with the body's long-term energy stores to normally maintain a constant body weight," said Low, a scientist in the Vollum Institute at OHSU.

The research team also located a new source for ghrelin production in the body. The site is located in a section of the hypothalamus that had no previously known function and that is near the brain region affected by the hormone.

"This research shows that there are two sites where increased appetite may be generated, the stomach and the brain," explained Cone, a senior scientist at the OHSU Vollum Institute. "We hope future research will hopefully distinguish between the roles of these two production sites so that we may better understand weight regulation and energy homeostasis in the body."

These latest findings follow a study published in August 2002 that identified and characterized peripheral hormone peptide YY (PYY). PYY appears to have the opposite effect as ghrelin – reducing appetite instead of increasing it. OHSU researchers and their collaborators found that by introducing PYY into the bloodstreams of both humans and mice, a temporary, but measurable drop in appetite and food ingestion occurred.

###

This research was sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources, both components of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon Health & Science University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon Health & Science University. "OHSU Scientists Locate, Characterize Key Hormone Involved In Appetite Control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030221075944.htm>.
Oregon Health & Science University. (2003, February 21). OHSU Scientists Locate, Characterize Key Hormone Involved In Appetite Control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030221075944.htm
Oregon Health & Science University. "OHSU Scientists Locate, Characterize Key Hormone Involved In Appetite Control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030221075944.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins