Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sex Hormone Signaling Helps Burn Calories

Date:
February 28, 2007
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
Any dieter can tell you: Body weight is a function of how much food you eat and how much energy you use. The trick to maintaining a healthy weight lies in regulating the balance. Now new research from Rockefeller University suggests that brain cell receptors linked to sex hormones may play a role in the process by which we maintain that balance.

Heavyweight: Female mice without a receptor for an estrogen hormone in the part of their brain linked to energy balance grew to several times the weight of normal mice. Scientists say the weight gain was linked not to overeating, but to a lack of physical activity. (Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University)
Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University

Any dieter can tell you: Body weight is a function of how much food you eat and how much energy you use. The trick to maintaining a healthy weight lies in regulating the balance. Now new research from Rockefeller University suggests that brain cell receptors linked to sex hormones may play a role in the process by which we maintain that balance.

Related Articles


The findings show that metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that includes obesity, insulin resistance and reduced physical activity, occurs in female mice when estrogen signaling in specific areas of the brain is shut down.

“It is well documented that mice missing the gene for estrogen receptor a become obese,” says Pfaff, head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior. “But because every cell in these ‘knockout’ mice has been missing estrogen signaling from birth, these results are confounded by potential effects on overall brain development. Using a targeted approach, we interfered with the receptor’s synthesis only in the neurons in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, and found that these mice also become obese.”

The ventromedial nucleus plays an essential role in the control of energy balance: When intentionally harmed, the mice become obese. Nerve cells in this area of the brain also express estrogen receptor a at very high levels.

Using a novel method of genetic manipulation developed by Sergei Musatov, a former postdoc and first author of the current paper, the scientists tested the role of estrogen receptor alpha in specific areas of the brain. The technique uses a virus to deliver strands of interfering RNA to the neurons that would halt production of the estrogen receptor a protein. The affected mice immediately started to gain weight, even though the amount of food they were initially eating didn’t change.

“We found that the increase in food was secondary, the weight gain occurred first and the mice started to eat more simply to maintain their new body weight,” says Musatov. “Estrogen signaling obviously plays an important role in the ventromedial nucleus to help maintain normal body weight.”

The mice missing estrogen receptor alpha also expended less energy – they were less active than regular mice and had a slower metabolism. They also developed several hallmark features of metabolic syndrome in humans, including glucose intolerance and resistance to insulin.

Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(7): 2501-2506 (February 13, 2007)


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "Sex Hormone Signaling Helps Burn Calories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227213315.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2007, February 28). Sex Hormone Signaling Helps Burn Calories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227213315.htm
Rockefeller University. "Sex Hormone Signaling Helps Burn Calories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227213315.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lion Makes Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lion Makes Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The noble lion has made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to US wildlife organisation Panthera, which recently took live video footage of a male. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tracking This Warbler's 'Extraordinary' Transoceanic Flight

Tracking This Warbler's 'Extraordinary' Transoceanic Flight

Newsy (Apr. 1, 2015) The blackpoll warbler makes one of the longest nonstop flights in the animal kingdom: three days straight for some 1,500 miles. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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