A team of researchers has discovered two new types of cell in the brain that can potently regulate appetite and offer new drugs to treat obesity. Researchers of Rockefeller University have revealed that there are two types of cells which are located in the part of the brainstem known as the dorsal raphe nucleus, that have the capability to treat obesity by controlling the hunger signals that instill the search for and consumption of food.
The results indicated that the part of the brain played a role in feeding behavior. Researchers have conducted a study on mice's dorsal raphe nucleus or DRN when whole-brain imaging made with iDISCO, revealed that this part of the brain becomes activated in hungry mice.
"The recent data suggest that modulation of the activity of specific neurons with drugs could bypass leptin resistance and provide a new means for reducing body weight," said researcher Jeffrey Friedman.
Subsequent imaging of other mice that were fed more than their normal amount of food, until they were fully revealed a different pattern of DRN activity. "One is that the cells are just along for the ride--they are getting activated by hunger but they're not actually driving the food intake process. The other possibility is that they are in fact part of the sense and response mechanism to hunger--and in this case, we suspected the latter," Nectow added.
They also studied the effect of switching off hunger neurons in obese mice. Another Researcher Marc Schneeberger Pane stated said that prolonged inhibition of these neurons could dramatically reduce weight.
New findings disclosed how the brain controls eating, and suggest that drugs designed to activate or inhibit neurons in the DRN could be effective in treating obesity and preventing its related disorders, such as diabetes and hypertensions.