Researchers identify weight loss hormone pathway

24 October 2014

Researchers have discovered how a hormone targeted for weight loss drugs functions within the body.

Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found that the fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) hormone acts directly on the brain to trigger weight loss.

It activates a second hormone called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which in turn stimulates the nervous system. This activates brown adipose tissue, which responds by generating body heat through the burning of fat.

Research has centered around using the FGF21 as part of weight loss treatments but it has not previously been known how it functions.

The discovery that the FGF21-CRF pathway acts on the sympathetic nervous system to signal brown adipose to burn fat could help in the development of future drugs for the treatment of obesity.

The findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism and could help to understand obesity on a molecular level. 

Posted by Jeanette Royston​

 

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