the genetic switch
, causing you to eat
large amounts of fatty, high-calorie foods
The discovery, useful in the fight against
, was published in The Faseb Journal by researchers at the Osaka Metropolitan University led by Shigenobu Matsumura.
The first element that makes up this genetic switch is the
, already known for its link with obesity.
Previous studies had indeed shown that its deactivation in mice induces weight gain.
However, it remained to be understood in which brain cells it carried out its anti-obesity brake action, since the gene is expressed by all neurons.
The Japanese research group tried to scrutinize neurons expressing the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R), since mutations in this gene cause obesity.
Assuming that MC4R was the second missing component of the genetic binge switch, they created mice that did not express CRTC1 in neurons with MC4R.
When the animals were fed a standard diet, there were no significant changes in body weight.
However, when the same mice were fed a high-calorie, high-fat diet, they began to overeat, becoming more obese than the control group and even developing diabetes.
“This study revealed the role played by the CRTC1 gene in the brain and part of the mechanism that prevents us from overeating high-calorie, fatty and sugary foods,” comments Shigenobu Matsumura.
"We hope these findings lead to a better understanding of what drives people to overeat."