Brain protein shows promise in checking obesity

August 10th, 2011 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Aug 10 (IANS) Research by an Indian-origin scientist has shown that brain protein may actually hold the key to keeping appetite and blood sugar under control and keep unwanted pounds away.

Suraj Unniappan, associate professor in biology at Canada’s York University, is probing the metabolic effects of a protein called nesfatin-1 present in the brain.

He found that rats given nesfatin-1 ate less, used more stored fat and became more active. Besides, it stimulated insulin secretion from the pancreatic beta cells of both rats and mice, reports the journal Endocrinology.

“(The rats) actually ate more frequently but in lesser amounts… they were more active and we found that their fatty acid oxidisation was increased,” says Unniappan, who studied in the University of Kerala.

“In other words, the energy reserve being preferably used during nesfatin-1 treatment was fat. This suggests more fat loss, which could eventually result in body weight loss,” he says according to a university statement.

Discovered by Japanese researchers in 2006, nesfatin-1 was earlier found to regulate appetite and the production of body fat when injected into the brain of mice and rats.

Unniappan did his PhD in Cell Biology and Physiology from the University of Alberta and post-doctoral training in diabetes and obesity from the University of British Columbia.

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