12 November 2014
A team has made progress in finding out more about how to best maintain a healthy weight, and why some people are more prone to becoming overweight or obese.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made a connection between known regulators of body mass, which could help influence future treatments for obesity and metabolic disorders.
Led by Dr Kendra Bence, the study also poses some intriguing questions about how these molecular pathways could play a role in learning, perhaps even in some types of brain cancer.
Dr Bence, an associate professor and senior author of the report, based her work on previous research where she highlighted the important role of a specific enzyme protein (PTP1B) in regulating body weight.
In her original research, she found that PTP1B is able to counter the hormone leptin, which suppresses appetite.
For the new study, Dr Bence turned up tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), a receptor in the brain that binds to a molecule called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
They found that boosting expression of PTP1B suppressed BDNF and TrkB activity, while inhibiting PTP1B enhanced the activity of the BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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