Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have distinguished a cerebrum hormone that seems to trigger fat burning in the gut. Their discoveries in animal models could have future significance in pharmaceutical developments.
“This was basic science that opened a fascinating puzzle,” said TSRI Assistant Professor Supriya Srinivasan, senior author of the new study, distributed in the journal Nature Communications.
Past studies have shown that the neurotransmitter serotonin can drive fat loss. However nobody was certain how. To answer that question, Srinivasan and her associates tried different things with roundworms called C. elegans, which are regularly utilized as model life forms in science. These worms have less complex metabolic frameworks than humans, however their brains produce many of the same signaling molecules, driving numerous analysts to trust that discoveries in C. elegans may also be applicable to humans.
The specialists erased genes in C. elegans to check whether they could interfere with the way between brain serotonin and fat burning. By testing one gene after another, they hoped to discover the gene without which fat burning wouldn’t occur. This procedure of elimination drove them to a gene that codes for a neuropeptide hormone they named FLP-7 (read as “flip 7”).
Interestingly, they found that the mammalian form of FLP-7 (called Tachykinin) had been recognized 80 years prior as a peptide that activated muscle contractions when dribbled on pig intestines. Researchers in those days trusted this was a hormone that associated the cerebrum to the gut, yet nobody had connected the neuropeptide to fat metabolism in the time since.