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Peptides Making You Hungry

1 year, 3 months ago

2910  1
Posted on Jun 06, 2018, 8 p.m.

An appetite that won’t quit may be able to be blamed on those hungry peptides. The multitasking brain uses the hunger peptide MCH to tell you when to eat, via the cerebral plumbing system that uses its fluid to flush waste and channel the molecule, as published in the journal Cell Metabolism.


Researchers have determined how the brain tells you that you are hungry by via a neuropeptide associated with appetite being sent into cerebrospinal fluid to connect with neurons responsible for altering hunger.

In general people think of brain cells as communicating signals through synapses between them, this study shows another complementary way to communicate sending signals into cerebrospinal fluid, the brain regulates some processes by releasing and dispersing molecules such as neuropeptides into the cerebrospinal fluid. Cell to cell communication is like neurons passing notes to individual neurons or cells, cerebrospinal fluids distribute communications like a newsletter to many subscribers. 


Many drug developers are understandably very interested in developing pharmaceuticals that can target the MCH system to control appetite to address the growing battle against obesity and other weight related health problems.


Cerebrospinal fluid has three main assignments: the eternal task of buoyancy supporting the brain, acting as a cushion for the brain incase of a blow to the head, and being the brain’s sewer system clearing metabolic waste. Neuroscience technologies have greatly advanced seeing indications that sometimes dismissed brain sewage actually plays roles in regulation of behaviors such as energy balance, reproduction, stress, and now as an active mechanism for communication in the brain.


Focussing on the molecule melanin concentrating hormone which is the neuropeptide generated by neurons in the hypothalamus hunger center in the brain researchers designed this study. Through a series of experiments using model rats release of the hunger peptide was stimulated and tracked in the cerebrospinal fluid. When MCH was released into cerebrospinal fluid the animals would begin to eat, when reduced the animals would eat less. Based on these findings it was determined release of the peptide is likely influenced by circadian clock and daily mealtime routine.


It was noted that there still are lingering questions regarding the hunger molecule that require further investigations such as how does MCH exactly travel in the cerebrospinal fluid and where does it go after, and is it released in some special way to protect it from damage or degradation. Other questions such as what other behaviors besides feeding do the cerebrospinal fluids help to regulate come to mind. Hopefully all will be addressed in the near future.


Materials provided by University of Southern California.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

Emily E. Noble, Joel D. Hahn, Vaibhav R. Konanur, Ted M. Hsu, Stephen J. Page, Alyssa M. Cortella, Clarissa M. Liu, Monica Y. Song, Andrea N. Suarez, Caroline C. Szujewski, Danielle Rider, Jamie E. Clarke, Martin Darvas, Suzanne M. Appleyard, Scott E. Kanoski. Control of Feeding Behavior by Cerebral Ventricular Volume Transmission of Melanin-Concentrating Hormone. Cell Metabolism, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.05.001



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