Research

Changes in brain chemistry sustain obesity

Eduardo A. Nillni

A complex set of neurochemical processes, newly unraveled, shows that obesity can sustain itself, impeding hormones that would curb appetite or increase the burn rate for calories. “This is so novel. Nobody ever looked at that.” Credit: David Orenstein/Brown University

In a new discovery reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Brown University and Lifespan researchers show that in the brain cells of rats, obesity impedes the production of a hormone that curbs appetite and inspires calorie burning. The root cause appears to be a breakdown in the protein-processing mechanism of the cells. In the lab, the researchers showed they could fix the breakdown with drugs.