Breakthrough: resistance to the satiety hormone leptin causes obesity

Breakthrough: resistance to the satiety hormone leptin causes obesity

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If you don't get full: Leptin resistance causes overweight

The number of overweight people in Germany is still at a very high level. Many sufferers miss the feeling of being satisfied. Researchers have now found that resistance to the saturation hormone plays an important role in this.

Unhealthy overweight

When you consider that being overweight or obese can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack, there are certainly enough reasons to lose those extra pounds. But many overweight people miss the feeling of being satisfied. Up to now it was assumed that this was due to an impaired transport of the saturation hormone leptin into the brain. However, this is not correct, as German researchers have now been able to show.

Why many overweight people are not satisfied

So far, it has been assumed that an impaired transport of the satiety hormone leptin into the brain is responsible for the fact that obese people are simply no longer satisfied.

However, a group of scientists from the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) has now been able to use a new 3D imaging method to show that this is not the case.

As the researchers describe in an article in the journal "International Journal of Obesity", the cause seems to be in the nerve cells.

Leptin transport visualized

"In fat mice and humans, leptin is released in high concentration from the adipose tissue into the bloodstream, but does not activate its saturation centers in the brain," explains Luke Harrison, a doctoral student at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and first author of the study in a message.

"So far, it was assumed that the cause of their hormone resistance is a disturbed transport process," said the expert.

Since the leptin is only able to cross the blood-brain barrier to a limited extent, it is theorized that less reaches the saturation centers.

However, with a novel 3D method, the researchers were able to make the transport of leptin visible and investigate for the first time and refute this assumption.

The cause must be in the nerve cells

The research team headed by Dr. With the new imaging method, Paul Pfluger, partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research, has demonstrated that leptin gets into the brain in sufficient quantities in both thin and thick mice.

According to the scientists, the cause of the disturbance in eating behavior must lie in the nerve cells themselves.

"We can now narrow down the cause of leptin resistance and focus our research on the molecular mechanisms within the nerve cells," said Dr. Paul Pfluger. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Jeffrey Friedman Rockefeller U.HHMI: The Causes of Obesity and the Discovery of Leptin (June 2022).