According to a press release from the University of Cologne on Thursday, a group of researchers have come up with a completely new way to treat eating disorders that may be the key to finally controlling these harmful urges.
The nerve cells that tell us to eat
Researchers used mouse models to show that a group of nerve cells in the hypothalamus called AgRP (agouti-related peptide neurons) control the release of endogenous lysophospholipids, which in turn control the excitability of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex, which stimulates food intake.
The scientists also figured out that activating AgRP neurons in the hypothalamus could make a person feel hungry. In this study, AgRPs were also linked to autotaxin, an enzyme in the brain (ATX).
Researchers did a lot of work to find out that they could control mice’s food cravings by stopping ATX from working.
In the statement, Johannes Vogt, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Cologne in Germany, said, “Gene mutation and pharmacological inhibition of ATX led to a significant decrease in overeating and obesity.”
In this process, the ATX controls the most important step of the signaling pathway. The ATX is also responsible for making lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in the brain, which controls the activity of networks. So, the researchers came to the conclusion that giving animals autotaxin inhibitors could possibly reduce both overeating after fasting and obesity by a large amount.
“People with a broken synaptic LPA signaling pathway are more likely to be overweight and have type II diabetes, according to the data. This is a strong sign that ATX inhibitors, which we are making with the Hans Knoll Institute in Jena for use in people, could be effective as treatments “said Robert Nitsch, a neuroscientist at Germany’s University of Münster.
The research is still in its early stages, but the first results are very good. This new study could be an important first step toward using targeted drugs to control eating disorders and obesity.
So far, most of these kinds of efforts have mostly failed. The new approach, on the other hand, looks like it could also help treat different neurological and mental illnesses.
The researchers are now making a series of drugs that block ATX to test on overweight people in the future. And it won’t be hard for the researchers to find people to test on.
In Germany, 67 percent of men and 53 percent of women are overweight, and 23 percent of adults are very overweight, according to a report from the Robert Koch Institute in 2021. (obese). This is a huge problem when you think about how obesity can cause many serious health problems and can even make it harder to treat cancer.