Overeating is a big problem and leads to overweight and obesity, and, consequently, to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Now, the researchers found the brain mechanisms that prevent neurons from signaling the satiety feeling.
Carrying out their experiments on mice, the scientists found out that the body of those lab animals which had a high-fat diet produces an enzyme known as MMP-2 that blocks the receptors for the leptin hormone within the neurons in the hypothalamus. This mechanism keeps the leptin away from linking with the receptors, causing the neuronal cells to “forget” about signaling the body when the stomach is full.
This study is the first to explore the brain mechanisms behind overeating. On the other hand, the research also discovered that the standard mechanism of signaling satiety recovers to normal functioning when the MMP-2 enzyme is blocked. The scientists hope that their experiment will help clinicians combat overeating in people by blocking the before-mentioned enzyme.
Some specific brain mechanisms trigger overeating and scientists revealed them for the first time
“We need to ask what other pathways, in addition to leptin and its receptors, undergo a similar destructive process and what the consequences might be,” said Rafi Mazor from the University of California San Diego in the US.
The researcher, led by Rafi Mazor, decided to analyze the leptin receptors, instead of studying the different ways of blocking leptin as previous studies on overeating thought it would be helpful.
“We hypothesized that an enzyme breaking down proteins into amino acids and polypeptides can cleave membrane receptors and lead to dysfunctional activity,” explained Mazor. However, the scientists involved in this new study admit there is a need for a larger-scale clinical investigation of the inhibition of MMP-2 enzyme and its implications for weight loss.
In conclusion, according to the researchers, those people who are in the early phases of overeating might have their leptin receptors blocked, but, luckily, their neural pathways brain mechanisms are still intact.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.