Brain cells that curb overeating found diminished activity in mice on a high-fat diet

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A team of researchers from the U.S., Sweden and the U.K. has found that certain brain cells involved in curbing overeating in mice became less active after the mice were fed a high-fat diet. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their experiments with over-feeding test mice and what they learned. Stephanie Borgland, with the University of Calgary, has published a Perspective piece in the same journal issue outlining the work done by the team.

Most people who become obese know that the more they overeat , the harder it seems to stop. In this new effort, the researchers may have uncovered part of the reason. In their experiments, the team cut holes in the skulls of test mice and plugged them with tiny windows in order to peer at brain neurons using a special microscope. They then fed the mice a fatty diet and watched as the mice slowly became obese.

The researchers focused most specifically on in the lateral hypothalamus—it is a part of the brain that prior research has shown is involved in regulating hunger. More specifically, it has been shown that glutamatergic nerve cells in the lateral hypothalamus are involved in suppressing hunger. Their job is to tell mice when they have had enough to eat. In experiments in which these cells were disabled, mice became overeaters. But until now, it was not known how such cells behaved in their live, "turned-on" state when mice became overeaters.

The researchers report that just two weeks into the fatty diet regimen, the glutamatergic nerve cells in the mice became less active during both spontaneous behavior and when they were given a sip of sugar water. They report further that the reductions in activity continued as the were fed the fatty diet for 12 weeks. Borgland explains that a fatty diet removes the natural brake on overeating, resulting in the onset of obesity.

It is not known if the same types of cells in humans behave in the same way, but the researchers note that prior research has shown that the hypothalamus in humans is involved in regulating hunger.


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More information: Mark A. Rossi et al. Obesity remodels activity and transcriptional state of a lateral hypothalamic brake on feeding, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126/science.aax1184

Stephanie L. Borgland. Releasing the brake on eating, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126/science.aay0204

Journal information: Science

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Jun 28, 2019
Without statistics this information is not useful. Just how big a difference did this make? If it's only a couple of percent, it might be statistically significant, but of no practical significance.

Jun 28, 2019
And yet the Keto diet works where others fail!

The plan here is to turn everyone vegan and stop the production of meat. There is no real science anymore only a politicized agenda.

Jun 28, 2019
The world community of scientists aren't on a crusade to stop morons from eating whatever they want. They want to determine how the body responds to various inputs. There is lots of bad food in our diet, but figuring out what bad means is a long term issue. Otherwise everyone would be fit instead of 50% obese. Results may seem contradictory because there is no one agenda, people test ideas as they have them. This one says eating fatty food makes you crave more, thats it. Sure KETO may work, MAYBE because you want it to work and you can stick to it BECAUSE your body craves said fat? Duh

Jun 28, 2019
SciTechdude it is pretty obvious that you know nothing about the Keto diet and why it works when other diets fail.
To see how the science has been corrupted all you have to do is look at the USDA food pyramid.

Jun 30, 2019
MR166 the Keto diet has been shown to be unhealthy in a long term situation and people are not suggested to maintain it longer than a few months. But feel free to die of bowel cancer.

Jun 30, 2019
"MR166 the Keto diet has been shown to be unhealthy in a long term situation and people are not suggested to maintain it longer than a few months. But feel free to die of bowel cancer."

Please post a link proving this.

Jun 30, 2019
"Most people who become obese know that the more they overeat fatty foods, the harder it seems to stop."

This is so obviously not true. A six-pack of soda has about the same calories as a stick of butter (~800). Most people would easily down a six pack, even with food. Most people would have trouble finishing a stick of butter, let alone finding it hard to stop. It's simple carbs what leaves you craving for more.

Jul 01, 2019
It is a historical fact that the high carb low fat "heart healthy" diet was created by the government despite knowledge that science did not back it up. It is one of the prime reasons for the diabetes epidemic in the US. The keto diet has been shown to reverse mild cases of diabetes without drugs.

Jul 01, 2019
I will acknowledge one thing about fats though, if you mix them with sugar and starch type carbs the combination is deadly. This is due to the fact that your body prefers to produce energy from the carbs and stores the fats as fat. Without the carbs your body is forced to use the fat as an energy source.

Jul 05, 2019
MR166 the Keto diet has been shown to be unhealthy in a long term situation and people are not suggested to maintain it longer than a few months. But feel free to die of bowel cancer.


Tell that to Eskimos who eat a traditional diet of whale blubber and meat with only small amounts of low carbohydrate 'filler' plants.

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