Low Levels Of Brain Chemical May Lead To Obesity

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health indicates that a brain chemical, which is responsible for the long term memory of the person, also regulates the amount of eat eaten by the person. Therefore, disclosing the possibilities of the person being obese. This condition has been recognized as a rare genetic condition.

National Institutes of Health Research Study:

According to the study, Brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF)I are produced in brain, which is responsible for controlling weight and appetite in the animals. The study conducted by NIH has strong evidences that BDNF is necessary for human body weight also.

The research conducted by NIH on adults and children found a rare genetic condition of WAGR syndrome. It was found that the people suffering from this condition lack a gene for BDNF and  have lower levels of blood for the substance. People in this subgroup had very large appetite and have a strong affinity for obesity.

The results of this research study have established a new biological pathway in the study of obesity. Once the strong evidence of this genetic were established, development of new drugs have taken place, so as to regulate the appetite of the people who did not had any success from other treatments.

The presence of WAGR syndrome is the indication for the presence of many complex conditions like Wilms tumor, tumor of the kidney, abnormalities in the urinary and genital tract, aniridia – absence of iris in the eye and mental retardation. The condition of WAGR is a rare condition which is found in one out of 500, 000 – one million people.

The studies have found that the people suffering from WAGR syndrome do not have a group of genes on chromosome 11. So, these people do not have 2 specific genes of WT1 and PAX6, some can have deficiency of some more genes on the nearby chromosome as well.

Current Study:

A recent study was conducted on 33 patients — 11 of which were suffering from WAGR syndrome. Nineteen patients were detected to have a copy of gene of BDNF. It was found that all the 19 patients by the age of 10 were obese and had a solid inclination for overeating. Apart from this, the blood samples of all 19 patients had blood levels of BDNF which is 50% less than that of those people who had two copies of BDNF genes. It has been found that those patients who have two copies of BDNF genes do not develop childhood obesity but rather have habit of overeating.

The researchers believe that there are many factors which are responsible for the regulation of body weight and appetite. The most important of them is leptin. Leptin is a hormone which is known to signal hunger in the body. Further, the researchers are of the view that the releasing of BDNF in hypothalamus (a part of the brain) is also responsible for controlling the appetite, so it can be indirectly be triggered by Leptin hormone. The studies have established the relation between the two which can result in the development of new drugs to treat obesity in the individuals suffering from this condition.


Society of Neuroscience: Obesity and the Brain
National Institutes of Health: Lower Levels of Brain Chemical May Lead to Obesity, NIH Study of Rare Disorders Shows

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