Researchers have found a group of brain cells that control appetite, and activating these neurons can curb the feeling of hunger. Beyond that, the findings could also help to control the so-called obesity epidemic.
Obesity rates are on the rise around the globe, and the United States is home to a veritable obesity epidemic.
But a team of researchers from the University of Warwick in Coventry, United Kingdom, have made a groundbreaking discovery that could transform dieting and weight loss practices.
The scientists – led by Nicholas Dale, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Warwick – found that a group of neurons called tanycytes “communicate” with the brain directly to “tell” it to stop the sensation of hunger.
The first author of the new study is Greta Lazutkaite, and the findings were published in the journal Molecular Metabolism.
Tanycytes are glial neurons in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, and recent studies have suggested that these cells may control energy levels and body weight. However, this is the first time that scientists show how these cells signal satiety by detecting certain nutrients in food.
More specifically, the authors explain, it was known that tanycytes are able to detect glucose in the cerebrospinal fluid, but the new research shows that essential amino acids can activate these neurons and make us feel less hungry.