22 February 2007
Brain's Fat Control Regulator Identified
The fat mouse lacks protein SH2B1.
Once again, it's good to be a mouse, if you get assigned to the right group, until they dissect you.
You probably know that dopamine plays a key role in your brain's pleasure centers, and that other chemicals in your brain, like melatonin and serotonin play a key role in governing brain functions like sleep and mood, respectively.
Now, it appears that a protein, with the unpronouncable name SH2B1, plays "a key role in the flurry of signals that govern fat storage, sugar use, energy balance and weight." Mice that lack the protein "become obese, diabetic, and unable to stop eating." Its roles includes allowing the brain to receive the "I'm full" signal that molecules leptin and insulin send to the brain.
Principal investigator Liangyou Rui, Ph.D., Postdoc Decheng Ren, Ph.D, and other investigators at the University of Michigan Medical School have published their latest research in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Early research was published in a 2005 edition of Cell Metabolism. The researchers, with University assistance, are seeking to bring the advance to the next level by using it to formula an anti-obesity treatment for humans.