A protein found in cells throughout the body must be present in a specific set of neurons in the brain to prevent weight gain after chronic feeding on high-calorie meals, new findings suggest.
Nicknamed the “longevity” protein because of its apparent role in mediating the effects of dietary restriction on life span, SIRT1 has been studied as a potential target for anti-aging drugs. Prior research has shown that this metabolic sensor protein in peripheral tissues plays an important role in regulating metabolism, but its physiological relevance in brain neurons remains unclear.
POMC (pro-opiomelanocortin) neurons are found in the hypothalamus region of the brain and are known to play an important role in suppressing appetite and inducing weight loss.
“This is the first study to show that SIRT1 in hypothalamic neurons, specifically POMC neurons, is required for preventing diet-induced obesity and maintaining normal body weight,” said Dr. Roberto Coppari, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and senior author of the study.
(Source: Cell Metabolism, July 7, 2015)