Washington: Scientists have been trying to understand the mechanisms that control the action of leptin, the appetite-regulation hormone that was discovered in 1994.It was known that leptin was made by fat cells, reduced appetite and interacted with insulin, but the precise molecular details of its function -details that might enable the creation of a new treatment for obesity - remained elusive.Now, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have revealed a significant part of one of those mechanisms, identifying a protein that can interfere with the brain`s response to leptin. They`ve also created a compound that blocks the protein`s action - a potential forerunner to an anti-obesity drug.In experiments with mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from UTMB and the University of California, San Diego explored the role of the protein, known as Epac1, in blocking leptin`s activity in the brain. They found that mice genetically engineered to be unable to produce Epac1 had lower body weights, lower body fat percentages, lower blood-plasma leptin levels and better glucose tolerance than normal mice.
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