Fat or fat loss is somehow the burning topic almost all the time. And, now the Biologist at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has pursued the identification of a brain hormone which can trigger the burning of fat in the gut.
This finding has been pursued in an animal model, but its futuristic implication for development in pharmacy cannot be obliterated.
The finding is attributed to the work of Assistant Professor Supriya Srinavasan, TSRI and Lavinia Palamiuc, Research Associate, TSRI.
– Earlier studies have indicated to the fact that the neurotransmitter serotonin has the ability to trigger fat loss. However, the process for the same was uncertain.
– In order to find an answer to this query, Srinivasan and her co-workers pursued experimentation with roundworms, known as elegans.
The acumen of using these worms was that their brain produced many of the similar signaling molecules, thus proving the relevance of the findings true for humans. So, the researchers deleted the genes in the worm to witness if they could interfere with the path between brain serotonin and the burning of fat. They pursed testing of one gene after another, so as to find the gene without which the burning of fat would cease.
– This continuous process of elimination and testing led them to a gene which coded for a neuropeptide hormone, FLP-7. Yet again, they found that almost 80 years ago, there was found a mammalian version of FLP-7 known as Tachykinin.
Tachykinin was a peptide that when trickled on pig intestines, accelerated contraction of muscles. So, scientists back then believed that this was a hormone that pursued connectivity of the brain to the gut; however, they could not link the neuropeptide to the metabolism of fat back then.
Determination of association of FLP-7 to serotonin levels
This second stage is attributed to the pioneer work of Lavinia Palamiuc.
She tagged FLP-7 with a fluorescent red protein, so that it was possible to visualize it in living animals.
It was more possible in roundworm because the body of roundworm is transparent.
It was her work which concluded with the revelation that FLP-7 was secreted from neurons in the brain in response to high serotonin level.
After this FLP-7 transmitted through the circulatory system and initiated the fat burning process in the gut.
What is the pathway of fat burning after this new discovery?
When there is a sensory cue, like food availability the neural circuit produces serotonin. This gives signals to another set of neurons to start the production of FLP-7.
It is the FLP-7 which in turn activates a receptor in the intestinal cells, which start turning fat into energy.
The researchers have also found out that an enhancement of FLP-7 levels did not have any sort of side effect.
Future studies will lead to more research and findings.