Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New estrogen-based compound suppresses binge-like eating behavior in female mice

Date:
August 26, 2014
Source:
Baylor College of Medicine
Summary:
The hormone estrogen can specifically trigger brain serotonin neurons to inhibit binge eating in female mice, researchers report. They add that this result is consistent with data in humans. "We can speculate that in women who develop binge eating who also happen to have irregular menstrual cycles, it is probably because their estrogen function is somehow damaged, which is what leads to the development of binge eating," said the study's lead author.

Binge eating, an eating disorder in which a person frequently consumes unusually large amounts of food in a short period of time, affects about 5 to 10 percent of U.S. adults and is more common in women than men. Researchers at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital found that the hormone estrogen can specifically trigger brain serotonin neurons to inhibit binge eating in female mice in a report today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Related Articles


"Previous data has shown that women who have irregular menstrual cycles tend to be more likely to binge eat, suggesting that hormones in women play a significant role in the development or prevention of the behavior," said Dr. Yong Xu, assistant professor of pediatrics and senior author of the paper. "Previous data has also shown that in humans, there is a strong association between estrogen and binge eating. When estrogen is high, binge eating is inhibited, but when estrogen is low, binge eating becomes more frequent. Using mouse models, we set out to see what the effects of estrogen were on binge behavior in female mice."

In this study, Xu and colleagues first found that estrogen can strongly inhibit binge eating in mice, which was consistent with data in humans.

"We can speculate that in women who develop binge eating who also happen to have irregular menstrual cycles, it is probably because their estrogen function is somehow damaged, which is what leads to the development of binge eating," said Xu.

Xu and colleagues went further to determine what receptor was mediating the estrogen effect on binge eating and where this receptor was located. Using genetic mouse models, they found that the estrogen receptor-α, expressed by serotonin neurons in the brain, mediates the effect of estrogen to suppress binge eating.

"The significance is not only understanding the mechanism of how estrogen may modulate this behavior, but from a more therapeutic point of view, this would identify a potential target for estrogen therapy or modified estrogen therapy for treatment of this problem," said Xu.

However, Xu notes that the current estrogen therapy in practice has been a problem because it produces detrimental effects, such as high risk of breast cancer.

"We thought, if we can understand where and how the estrogen acts to produce some benefits, maybe that will facilitate the development of an estrogen-based therapy that could be more specific and would just produce the benefits and bypass the side effects, such as breast cancer," he said.

Around this same time, Xu's collaborators at Indiana University developed a compound called GLP-1-estrogen, which was a conjugate between the peptide GLP-1 and estrogen. The idea was that GLP-1 would be used to carry the estrogen and deliver it to a region where there are GLP-1 receptors as well as estrogen receptors and the estrogen would be released there, producing a biological function. His collaborators at Indiana University published that this compound was good for body weight control and would not increase the risk of breast cancer because the compound did not deliver estrogen to the breast tissue.

Xu and colleagues used this compound to show that when a systemic injection of this compound is given in mice, there is increased activity of estrogen in the serotonin region of the brain, meaning the compound can deliver estrogen in the serotonin region where they believed binge behavior is regulated.

They further showed that the compound actually substantially inhibits binge eating in mice, and their data showed that part of this effect comes from the estrogen and the other part of the effect comes from the GLP-1.

"There are a few studies showing that binge patients tend to have decreased GLP-1 in their blood, but nobody had shown that GLP-1 suppresses binge eating in animals or humans until now," said Xu. "We showed that these two things, estrogen and GLP-1, work together to decrease binge eating and that GLP-1 can carry estrogen to this specific site to produce a benefit, but bypasses the breast tissue."

Xu notes that this provides a strong case for an interventional drug that specifically acts on estrogen receptor-α in the serotonin region of the brain to treat binge eating.

The next steps in Xu's research will be to determine the mechanism by which estrogen regulates serotonin neurons. He and colleagues also hope to go downstream of serotonin to see if increasing serotonin release inhibits binge eating.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xuehong Cao, Pingwen Xu, Mario G. Oyola, Yan Xia, Xiaofeng Yan, Kenji Saito, Fang Zou, Chunmei Wang, Yongjie Yang, Antentor Hinton, Chunling Yan, Hongfang Ding, Liangru Zhu, Likai Yu, Bin Yang, Yuxin Feng, Deborah J. Clegg, Sohaib Khan, Richard DiMarchi, Shaila K. Mani, Qingchun Tong, Yong Xu. Estrogens stimulate serotonin neurons to inhibit binge-like eating in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2014; DOI: 10.1172/JCI74726

Cite This Page:

Baylor College of Medicine. "New estrogen-based compound suppresses binge-like eating behavior in female mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826205515.htm>.
Baylor College of Medicine. (2014, August 26). New estrogen-based compound suppresses binge-like eating behavior in female mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826205515.htm
Baylor College of Medicine. "New estrogen-based compound suppresses binge-like eating behavior in female mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826205515.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

AFP (Dec. 12, 2014) As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, so too does the Father Christmas conspiracy. But psychologists say that telling our children about Santa, flying reindeer and elves is good for their imaginations. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
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