Sunday, July 18, 2010

Resistance to Hormone Leptin Called Key to Obesity

(HealthDay News) -- Researchers may have uncovered the biochemical defect that underlies food-induced obesity in mice.

Assuming it can be duplicated in humans, the finding suggests several potential anti-obesity drug targets, experts said.

Michael Cowley, of the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health and Science University, led the study, which examined the cause of leptin resistance in diet-induced obese mice.

Leptin is a hormone, secreted by fat cells, which indicates how much fat is in the body and regulates food intake by binding to neurons in the hypothalamus region of the brain. In lean people, leptin serves to regulate weight by controlling appetite and the use of stored energy. Obese individuals, however, appear to be resistant to leptin, much as diabetics are resistant to insulin.

The question was, what is the mechanism driving leptin resistance. Read more...

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