According to a new research, a hormone, called Asprosin activates the feelings of hunger in brain. This research was published in the journal, Nature Medicine.
The study author, Dr. Atul Chopra, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, demonstrated that this hormone affects hypothalamus of brain, which is the center for controlling appetite, hunger and weight.
This hormone was first discovered in 2016 when Dr. Chopra studied two patients with a rare disorder, known as neonatal progeroid syndrome (NPS). In this disease, a person is unable to accumulate fat in the body and is characterized by lean body. This has been attributed to the deficiency of asprosin.
To validate this finding, the scientists modified mice to have NPS genetic mutation. This resulted in low blood levels of asprosin in mice, as expected.
Dr. Chopra said that low appetite could be simply reversed by monitoring the blood levels of asprosin. To control appetite, there are two types of neurons, namely AgRP and POMC. AgRP neurons stimulate appetite, while POMC neurons suppress appetite. Asprosin activates appetite-stimulating neurons, and deactivates appetite-suppressing neurons.
The study authors found that humans and mice, who are obese, had higher levels of asprosin and neutralization of asprosin led to reduced body weight and appetite.
These findings can thus, give an opportunity to treat obesity by just regulating the levels of asprosin in blood. It can also be used in the treatment of diabetes. Diabetic mice had their blood sugar levels lowered when asprosin was used. If humans respond in a similar way, then this may be used in the treatment of diabetes as well, as suggested by the authors.