Function of appetite hormone may be established early

April 14, 2004, midnight | By Seema Kacker | 17 years, 2 months ago

This is not original reporting. All information has been obtained from The Washington Post news article "Scientists Detail Hormone's Role in the Impulse to Eat" by David Brown printed April 2.

Two independent research teams have concluded that leptin, a hormone that directs hunger, is linked to establishing the brain's initial circuitry and is able to rewire neural connections throughout life, according to The Washington Post.

Studies published in the journal Science showed that leptin is produced by fat cells, and when released into the bloodstream, can effectively suppress appetite. Reduced amounts of the substance may lead to obesity.

In addition, according to the research, humans have various "set points," which are weights the body attempts to maintain. "The wiring diagram of the system that regulates feeding may be different in the obese than in the lean, and that may explain why lifestyle changes aren't generally effective for achieving substantial weight loss over the long term," said scientist Jeffrey M. Friedman to The Washington Post.

Even though leptin is linked to weight, efforts to lose weight by increasing blood concentrations have not been successful in clinical trials. The research shows that leptin's workings may have been established early in life, possibly prior to birth.

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Seema Kacker. Seema is a senior in the magnet this year, and is thrilled to be a part of the Online senior staff. She also plays tennis. More »

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