Team of Scientists led by Dr Akhter Hossain discover molecule that controls appetite

Team of Scientists led by Dr Akhter Hossain discover molecule that controls appetite

A molecule produced in the colon has been found to control appetite, a discovery which could help the future treatment of conditions such as obesity and anorexia nervosa.

While the existence of the molecule was known, its purpose had remained a mystery to scientists.

But an international team of researchers from Melbourne’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and Cambridge University established the molecule – known as insulin-like peptide 5 or Insl5 – plays a key role in telling the brain when the body is hungry or full.

Significantly, the research team also managed to make an artificial version of Insl5 in the laboratory, meaning scientists are on the way to being able to produce a drug capable of influencing appetite.

Such a treatment could either stimulate appetite for patients needing to gain weight such as those undergoing treatment for cancer or AIDS, or to suppress appetite in patients with type 2 diabetes or people wishing to lose weight.

”What this research reveals for the first time is that mechanisms going on in the gut are working hand in glove with the brain to control how you react and respond to food,” Florey Institute deputy director Henry de Aizpurua said.

Establishing the role it plays in appetite adds to growing evidence that peptides in the gut ”talk” to the brain and influence the body’s behaviour, reinforcing the idea that the gut is ”the second brain”.

It is the second hormone found to influence appetite. The first, known as ghrelin or the ”hunger hormone”, has its target in the brain, unlike Insl5 which has its target in the gut.

Outlined in the journal PNAS on Monday, the findings mean future drugs would not have to cross the difficult-to-penetrate blood-brain barrier, as is the case with many obesity treatments.

”The beauty with Insl5 is that it does its business in the gut and then the gut talks to the brain and so it doesn’t have to get through the blood-brain barrier which will make a huge difference in the logistics involved with developing a drug,” Dr de Aizpurua said.

The study was conducted using mice. Head of the Florey’s insulin peptides laboratory, Akhter Hossain, said normal mice were injected with the Insl5 peptide, which stimulated their appetite and prompted them to eat.

Dr Hossain said the effect was evident within 15 minutes and lasted for up to three days. However genetically modified mice bred without the Insl5 receptors, when injected with the peptide, did not start eating.

Researchers from the pharmaceutical company Takeda Cambridge also participated in the study, which was financially supported by the Japanese-owned group.


Place your ads here!

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment