Voluntary exercise by animals prevents weight gain, despite high-fat diet

May 18, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have found that animals on a high-fat diet can avoid weight gain if they exercise.

The study, led by Silvana Obici, MD, appears as a rapid electronic publication May 17, 2011, in the journal Endocrinology.

Obici and her team found that voluntary activates leptin-receptor-positive neurons in the brain’s hypothalamus. Leptin is a hormone produced and released by fat and interacts with receptors in the hypothalamus known to inhibit appetite. High-fat diet-induced obesity results in the inability of leptin to suppress appetite, which is also known as leptin resistance.

The team tested whether preventing diet-induced by either exercise or calorie restriction would improve leptin resistance in mice. They found that leptin was ineffective at reducing body weight in sedentary mice on a restricted . However, they found that leptin significantly lowered body weight in active mice on a high-fat diet.

"What we’ve learned is that exercise helps to maintain a lower body weight—despite a high-fat diet—perhaps through improved leptin action,” says Obici, an associate professor in the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and researcher with UC’s Metabolic Diseases Institute.

The results, Obici says, support the idea that exercise helps to keep weight off not only by burning calories through muscle activity, but also by influencing the brain’s response to the neural circuitry involved in energy balance.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

We've all got a blind spot, but it can be shrunk

August 31, 2015

You've probably never noticed, but the human eye includes an unavoidable blind spot. That's because the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain must pass through the retina, which creates a hole in that light-sensitive ...

Biologists identify mechanisms of embryonic wound repair

August 31, 2015

It's like something out of a science-fiction movie - time-lapse photography showing how wounds in embryos of fruit flies heal themselves. The images are not only real; they shed light on ways to improve wound recovery in ...

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.