Eat more, weigh less: Worm study provides clues to better fat-loss therapies for humans

Eat more, weigh less: Worm study provides clues to better fat-loss therapies for humans

Scientists have discovered key details of a brain-to-body signaling circuit that enables roundworms to lose weight independently of food intake, and there are reasons to suspect the circuit exists in a similar form in humans and other mammals.

via ScienceDaily: Top Science News:

Oct. 10, 2013 — Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered key details of a brain-to-body signaling circuit that enables roundworms to lose weight independently of food intake. The weight-loss circuit is activated by combined signals from the worm versions of the neurotransmitters serotonin and adrenaline, and there are reasons to suspect that it exists in a similar form in humans and other mammals.”Boosting serotonin signaling has been seen as a viable strategy for weight loss in people, but our results hint that boosting serotonin plus adrenaline should produce more potent effects — and there is already some evidence that that’s the case,” said TSRI Assistant Professor Supriya Srinivasan, who was principal investigator for the study, published online before print on October 10, 2013 by the journal Cell Metabolism.Serotonin signaling, which can be increased artificially by some diet and antidepressant drugs, has long been known to reduce weight. Until recently, scientists assumed that it does so largely by suppressing appetite and food intake. However, Srinivasan reported in 2008 — while she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco — that serotonin changes food intake and fat levels via separate signaling pathways. “We could make the animals we studied lose fat even as they ate more,” she said. Her experiments were conducted on C. elegans roundworms, whose short lifespans and well-characterized nervous systems make them a preferred species for quick-turnaround lab studies. Indeed, other researchers soon found that serotonin’s food-intake-suppressing and weight-loss effects are separable in mammals, too.Now with her own laboratory at TSRI, Srinivasan has been examining the C. elegans weight loss circuitry in more detail. …

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ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Eat more, weigh less: Worm study provides clues to better fat-loss therapies for humans

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