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Brain Cells Finding Suggests New Method for Treating Obesity

05:42 EDT 31 Jul 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Researchers at The Rockefeller University report that two populations of cells in the brain may be responsible for regulating appetite. They published their findings (“Identification of a Brainstem Circuit Controlling Feeding”) in Cell . The two types of cells, located in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), are potential targets for new drugs to treat obesity by controlling the hunger signals that drive the search for and consumption of food. “…we show that neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus, expressing vesicular transporters for GABA [gamma-aminobutyric acid] or glutamate (hereafter, DRN Vgat and DRN VGLUT3 neurons), are reciprocally activated by changes in energy balance and that modulating their activity has opposite effects on feeding—DRN Vgat neurons increase, whereas DRN VGLUT3 neurons suppress, food intake,” write the investigators. “Furthermore, modulation of these neurons in obese ( ob / ob ) mice suppresses food intake and body weight and normalizes locomotor activity. ...

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