Brain hormone triggers fat burning, study in animal models shows

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a brain hormone that triggers the mechanisms leading to fat burning in the gut. The study has produced evidences in animal models, yet it could have implications for future pharmaceutical development. The results have been published in Nature Communications. The research was based on previous studies which had shown that serotonin can drive fat loss, yet the mode of action leading to this is still not clear. Scientists focused on a type of roundworms (C. elegans) with simpler metabolic systems than humans, but similar brain transmitters. The researchers deleted some genes in C. elegans in order to interrupt the path between brain serotonin and fat burning. They discovered that eliminating the gene that codes for a neuropeptide named FLP-7 led to significant observations. Moreover, they found that FLP-7 – identified 80 years ago – played a role in muscular contractions in mammals. The research continued and the scientists observed that FLP-7 was indeed secreted from brain neurons in roundworms, in response to elevated serotonin levels. FLP-7 then traveled through the circulatory system of the analyzed organisms and started the fat burning process by activating a receptor in the intestine. (Source ScienceDaily)