Hormone pits fat against fat to reverse obesity

October 5th, 2011 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 5 (IANS) A hormone that makes fat fight fat could be a novel way of battling the obesity epidemic.

The hormone, called orexin, prevents obesity in mice by activating brown fat, which is good at burning calories. Body fat is called white fat, while ‘brown fat’ is of another type.

Scientists thought brown fat disappeared after infancy, but recent advances in imaging technology led to its rediscovery in adults, the journal Cell Metabolism reports.

Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Florida, US, discovered that orexin, a hormone produced in the brain, activates calorie-burning brown fat in mice, according to the Daily Mail.

Study author Devanjan Sikder, from Sanford-Burnham, said: “Our study provides a possible reason why some people are … obese despite the fact that they don’t overeat - they might lack the orexin necessary to activate brown fat and increase energy expenditure.”

Orexin deficiency is associated with obesity, suggesting that orexin supplementation could provide a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of obesity and other metabolic disorders.

Most current weight-loss drugs are aimed at reducing a person’s appetite.

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