Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Feast or famine: Researchers identify leptin receptor's sidekick as a target for appetite regulation

Date:
January 11, 2011
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
A new study adds a new twist to the body of evidence suggesting human obesity is due in part to genetic factors. While studying hormone receptors in laboratory mice, neuroscientists identified a new molecular player responsible for the regulation of appetite and metabolism.

A study by researchers at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida and Washington University School of Medicine adds a new twist to the body of evidence suggesting human obesity is due in part to genetic factors. While studying hormone receptors in laboratory mice, neuroscientists identified a new molecular player responsible for the regulation of appetite and metabolism.

In the Jan. 11 online issue of PLoS Biology, the authors report that mice engineered not to express the lipoprotein receptor LRP1, in the brain's hypothalamus, began to eat uncontrollably, growing obese as well as lethargic. They found that LRP1, a major transporter of lipids and proteins into brain cells, is a "co-receptor" with the leptin receptor -- meaning that both the leptin and LRP1 receptors need to work together to transmit leptin signals.

Leptin decides whether fat should be stored or used, resulting in lethargy or energy. When working properly, the hormone, which is made when body cells take in fat from food, travels to the brain to tamp down appetite.

"If a person is born with too little gene expression in the leptin pathway, which includes its receptors, or the circuitry is not functioning well, then leptin will not work as well as it should," says the study's lead investigator, neuroscientist Guojun Bu, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic. "Appetite will increase, and body fat will be stored."

Given these results, Dr. Bu says it may be possible to develop a treatment that increases gene expression in one or both of the protein receptors, which then increases the messages meant to decrease appetite sent to the brain.

The serendipitous findings were born out of Dr. Bu's primary research focus, Alzheimer's disease. He has been studying how cholesterol, essential to the smooth functioning of neurons, is carried from star-shaped astrocytes to the surface of neurons by apolipoprotein E (APOE). There are two major receptors for APOE on brain neurons, and LRP1 is one of them.

Inheriting one version of APOE -- APOE4 -- is a known risk factor for development of Alzheimer's disease, and Dr. Bu has found that APOE4 is less effective at transporting cholesterol. To understand what role LRP1 plays in bringing APOE4 into neurons, he created a knockout mouse model with no expression of LRP1 in its forebrain neurons; the rest of its body expressed the receptor normally.

He found neurons lacking LRP1 had even less ability to absorb cholesterol, and that they lost synaptic contact with other neurons, impairing their ability to retain memory.

But Dr. Bu was surprised to find the mice suddenly gained weight. "This is the opposite of what had been observed in mice who did not have the receptor in their body fat cells," he says. "Those animals became skinny because they couldn't absorb enough lipoproteins."

The knockout mice were indistinguishable from control mice for the first six months of life but then gained weight rapidly, a phenomenon that correlated with a decrease in LPR1 expression in the central nervous system. At 12 months old, the genetically engineered mice had twice as much body fat as control mice, lacked energy, and were insulin resistant. "Together, these results indicate that LRP1, which is critical in lipid metabolism, also regulates food intake and energy balance in the adult central nervous system," Dr. Bu says.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer's Association.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Qiang Liu, Juan Zhang, Celina Zerbinatti, Yan Zhan, Benedict J. Kolber, Joachim Herz, Louis J. Muglia, Guojun Bu. Lipoprotein Receptor LRP1 Regulates Leptin Signaling and Energy Homeostasis in the Adult Central Nervous System. PLoS Biology, 2011; 9 (1): e1000575 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000575

Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Feast or famine: Researchers identify leptin receptor's sidekick as a target for appetite regulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111171845.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, January 11). Feast or famine: Researchers identify leptin receptor's sidekick as a target for appetite regulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111171845.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Feast or famine: Researchers identify leptin receptor's sidekick as a target for appetite regulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111171845.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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