Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Brain Neurons and Diet Influence Onset of Obesity and Diabetes in Mice

Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Last Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Mice lacking AgRP-neurons adapt poorly to a carbohydrate diet and their metabolism seems better suited for feeding on fat.

The absence of a specific type of neuron in the brain can lead to obesity and diabetes in mice report researchers in The EMBO Journal. The outcome, however, depends on the type of diet that the animals are fed.

A lack of AgRP-neurons, brain cells known to be involved in the control of food intake, leads to obesity if mice are fed a regular carbohydrate diet.

However, animals that are deficient in AgRP-neurons but which are raised on a high-fat diet are leaner and healthier.

The differences are due to the influence of the AgRP-neurons on the way other tissues in the body break down and store nutrients.

“Susceptibility to obesity and other metabolic diseases is mostly thought to be due to complex genetic interactions and the radical environmental changes that have occurred during the last century. However, it is not just a question of what you eat and your genetic makeup but also how the body manages to convert, store and use food nutrients,” commented Serge Luquet, lead author of the study and a researcher at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Unit of Functional and Adaptive Biology, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité.

The scientists wanted to show if a primary setting in the brain might directly affect the relative balance that exists in peripheral tissue between storage, conversion and utilization of carbohydrate and lipids.

“The idea that we wanted to test in our experiments was whether the action of a specific type of brain cell known as the AgRP-neuron extended beyond its known influence on food intake. We found a new function for these cells, one that affects the communication with and activities of other tissues in the body including the liver, muscle and the pancreas,” added Luquet.

The researchers showed that mice that lacked AgRP-neurons from birth and which were fed on a regular carbohydrate diet had excessive body fat, increased amounts of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin, and normal levels of glucose in the blood.

When the same animals were fed a high fat diet they showed a reduced gain in body weight and improved glucose clearance in the blood.

“Our work shows that central circuits in the brain that control food intake also control how nutrients are used in peripheral organs of the body,” remarked Luquet. “This further role for AgRP-neurons might represent a core mechanism linking obesity and obesity-related diseases.”

The prevalence of obesity and other metabolic diseases is increasing rapidly and effective and safe treatments are urgently needed.

Obesity adversely affects health, decreases life expectancy, and increases the likelihood of other diseases including heart disease and type II diabetes.

“Understanding the mechanisms by which the brain controls how nutrients are metabolized and stored in peripheral organs may prove essential to achieving a clinical breakthrough for these debilitating diseases,” added Luquet.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

EMBO, EMBC and the National Science Council of Taiwan Sign Cooperation Agreement
New ways of global scientific interaction have been created following a cooperation agreement between EMBO, the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC), and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC).
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Scientific News
How it Works: Advanced Data Analysis Using Visualization
Visualisation of data can be used to help molecular biologists tackle the vast datasets their experiments create.
Cell Metabolism Linked to Spread of Cancer
Scientists discover macrophage metabolism can be attuned to prevent the spread of cancer.
Integrated Omics Analysis
Studying multi-omics promises to give a more holistic picture of the organism and its place in its ecosystem, however despite the complexities involved those within the field are optimistic.
Fatty Liver Disease Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
Recent study identifies factors causing insulin to misbehave in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
New Pathway for COPD Biomarker Development
A study from Philip Morris International has highlighted multi-lipid profiling as a potential new pathway for COPD biomarker development.
Clinical Trial Finds Medicine Program Alters Blood Serum
Meditation, yoga and vegetarian diet linked to decline in plasma metabolites associated with inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk.
3D-Printing in Science: Conference Co-Staged with LABVOLUTION
LABVOLUTION 2017 will have an added highlight of a simultaneous conference, "3D-Printing in Science".
Lab-on-a-Chip Detects Effects of Poison
A fast and efficient mixer has been developed for testing the effect of toxic substances faster by using a new lab-on-a-chip.
Targeting Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors May be Important Across a Lifetime
The study suggests efforts to prevent risk factors should extend to those older than 65.
Beige Fat Formation Linked to Anti-diabetic Effect
Researchers at UTSW have found that the protein connexin 43 forms cell-to-cell communication channels on the surface of emerging beige fat cells that amplify the signals from those few nerve fibers.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos