Liver plays a major role in regulating weight: Aus scientists

Melbourne: Australian scientists have claimed that liver could help in treating obesity after they found that it plays a major role in regulating weight by communicating with the brain.

Researchers of University of Melbourne said that they believed that human bodies may have an innate system in place to limit excessive weight gain caused by eating fatty foods.

However, the system only works in response to saturated fat in a normal diet and would not stop obesity in people who ate fat and sugar-laden diets.

Researchers from the university`s Molecular Obesity Laboratory found that an enzyme in the liver increased when fatty foods were consumed and sent a signal to the brain to reduce appetite-stimulating genes, according to Australian news agency AAP.

The overall affect was that after fat was consumed the brain told the body to reduce its food intake, thereby limiting weight gain.

Melbourne University researcher Barbara Fam said people who eat a fatty diet would still become overweight, but the system probably limited the amount of weight gained.

"We believe that this enzyme is really important in stopping the body from gaining any more weight," she said adding "Potentially, you could actually be a lot fatter if you don`t have this enzyme being active."

She said the liver could in future be considered as a target for treating weight-related conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The researchers compared higher levels of the enzyme, called FBPase, in mice with normal levels in another group.

The animals with more FBPase had half the amount of fatty tissue and ate less food than those mice without the extra enzymes.

When the researchers severed the communication links between the liver and the brain, the mice ate more food, even though they had higher levels of the enzymes.

FBPase`s main role is to produce glucose in the liver, but researchers found it is more important in regulating body weight.