Health: Discovery may help tackle obesity
Thursday 27 November 1997
It has long been known that the hormone leptin acts in the central nervous system to reduce food intake and body weight, but experiments with rats have now shown that it operates through a particular molecular key, or receptor, in the brain. Receptors are distinct sites on the surface of cells which have the right molecular shape for specific chemicals to bind on to and exert their effects. The principle is similar to a key fitting a lock. In the case of leptin, the hormone binds to the melanocortin-4 (MC4) receptor, causing a "reduce weight" signal to be released.
Research carried out at the University of Washington, in the United States, found that rats which had their MC4 receptors chemically blocked were unaffected when treated with leptin. Those in which the receptors were left unaltered consumed less food and lost weight when given the same amount of the hormone. Dr Randy Seeley, who led the research, said: "Identifying a role for the MC4 receptor in mediating the effects of leptin in the brain may be an important step in advancing our understanding of how the brain controls food intake and body weight, and, subsequently, will help us treat health problems such as obesity."
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...