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Galicia scientists find brain protein which reduces obesity without cutting food intake
17 October 2016 @ 22:19

RESEARCHERS in Galicia have found a way of making obese rats lose weight and reduce their Type II diabetes risk, without eating any less, and believe the technique could be extrapolated to humans.

The team at Santiago de Compostela university, in the province of A Coruña, has discovered a molecular mechanism which shows how increasing a certain protein in the hypothalamus – located in the midbrain and which regulates eating, drinking and carnal urges as well as controlling the endocrine system to keep the body in working order – meant the rats' metabolism improved and their traces of obesity-related diabetes diminished, even though they were eating the same amount of food.

According to Dr Cristina Contreras Jiménez of the NeurObesity Group at the university, one of the main issues underlying the obesity epidemic the western world is currently suffering from is the 'poor functioning of the brown adipose tissue'.

“The body contains two types of fat – white and brown,” explains Dr Contreras.

“White fat accumulates adipose tissue as stored-up energy, whilst brown fat acts like a central heating system – it burns itself to keep the body warmed up and maintain a healthy temperature.

“What happens in the case of obesity? Well, basically, the body's ability to burn calories diminishes, increasing the body mass and leading to white fat predominating at the expense of brown fat.

“By increasing the presence of the 'chaperone' protein GRP78, also known as BiP^, the hypothalamus in obese rats manages to transform white fat into brown fat – a phenomenon known as 'browning', which leads to weight loss in these animals.



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