Physicians have learned to cause obesity, affecting peripheral neurons

Portuguese, Spanish and American researchers presented a technology that allows you to turn off individual neurons of the peripheral nervous system without affecting the brain cells. Applying it to the cells innervating the fatty tissue of the mouse, the scientists noticed that the animal quickly gained weight. The results of his study physicians published in the journal Nature Communications.
Investigating the neurological mechanisms of obesity, the authors of the article found that activation of neurons associated with fat tissue leads to its destruction. After that they tried to track whether it is possible to affect the neurons of the peripheral nervous system without affecting the similar neurons in the brain. Scientists began to look for ways to modify the existing technology, which is based on the introduction into separate neurons of a special receptor. He made the neuron sensitive to the diphtheria toxin that kills the cell.

"The problem is that the diphtheria toxin can cross the blood-brain barrier. Because of this, we could not use this method to turn off peripheral neurons without affecting brain neurons, "explained one of the authors of the work, an expert from the Institute of Sciences de Gulbenkian Ana Domingos. Researchers modified diphtheria toxin, increasing its size, resulting in it became much more difficult to penetrate into the brain.

In the course of the experiments, scientists noticed that mice with switched off neurons associated with fat tissue do not change their eating behavior, however they quickly gain weight in comparison with animals from the control group. According to the authors of the work, the results they obtained will help in the study of diseases associated with the peripheral nervous system.

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