Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check, study shows

Date:
October 20, 2011
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
A recent study found that estrogen regulates energy expenditure, appetite and body weight, while insufficient estrogen receptors in specific parts of the brain may lead to obesity.

A recent UT Southwestern Medical Center study found that estrogen regulates energy expenditure, appetite and body weight, while insufficient estrogen receptors in specific parts of the brain may lead to obesity.

Related Articles


"Estrogen has a profound effect on metabolism," said Dr. Deborah Clegg, associate professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study published Oct. 5 in Cell Metabolism. "We hadn't previously thought of sex hormones as being critical regulators of food intake and body weight."

The mouse study is the first to show that estrogen, acting through two hypothalamic neural centers in the brain, keeps female body weight in check by regulating hunger and energy expenditure. Female mice lacking estrogen receptor alpha -- a molecule that sends estrogen signals to neurons -- in those parts of the brain became obese and developed related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Similar results were not seen in male mice, although researchers suspect other unknown estrogen receptor sites in the brain play a similar role in regulating metabolism for males as well.

Estrogen receptors are located throughout the body, but researchers found two specific populations of estrogen receptors that appear to regulate energy balance for female mice.

The findings are potentially important for millions of postmenopausal women, many of whom have decided against hormonal replacement therapy. The study could lead to new hormonal replacement therapies in which estrogen is delivered to specific parts of the brain that regulate body weight, thereby avoiding the risks associated with full-body estrogen delivery, such as breast cancer and stroke.

Doctors stopped routinely recommending long-term estrogen therapy for menopausal women in 2002 when a Women's Health Initiative study showed the hormone also led to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

"The role of estrogen in postmenopausal women continues to remain uncertain," Dr. Clegg said. "Current research is focused on the timing and the type of estrogen supplementation that would be most beneficial to women. Our findings further support a role for estrogens in regulating body weight and energy expenditure, suggesting a benefit of estrogen supplementation in postmenopausal women."

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study included lead author Dr. Yong Xu, a former postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Clegg's lab; Dr. Carol Elias, assistant professor of internal medicine; and Dr. Joel Elmquist, professor of internal medicine.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yong Xu, Thekkethil P. Nedungadi, Liangru Zhu, Nasim Sobhani, Boman G. Irani, Kathryn E. Davis, Xiaorui Zhang, Fang Zou, Lana M. Gent, Lisa D. Hahner, Sohaib A. Khan, Carol F. Elias, Joel K. Elmquist, Deborah J. Clegg. Distinct Hypothalamic Neurons Mediate Estrogenic Effects on Energy Homeostasis and Reproduction. Cell Metabolism, 2011; 14 (4): 453-465 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.08.009

Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024133.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2011, October 20). Estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024133.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024133.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. 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:

More Coverage


This Is Your Brain on Estrogen

Oct. 4, 2011 It's no secret that women often gain weight as they get older. The sex hormone estrogen has an important, if underappreciated, role to play in those burgeoning waistlines. Now, researchers have ... read more

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