Fat responds to nerves activation
A breakthrough study has shown how fat is innervated and how direct stimulation can lead to fat breakdown. This comes after collaborative research from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal and the Rockefeller University in the USA. Almost 20 years ago the same team, at the Rockefeller Univesity, discovered leptin, the hormone that is released by fat cells, that tell the brain how much fat is in the body. Low levels increase appetite, whilst high levels increase fat breakdown. However, it was not known how the lipolytic effect of leptin was mediated.
The researchers managed to dissect the nerve fibres from mice that innervated adipocytes and assess the functional relevance of these neurones. They observed obvious fat breakdown and fat mass reduction on activation of the sympathetic neurones. This study has not only clarified how leptin has its lipolytic effect but suggests new therapeutic strategies for overcoming the central leptin resistance seen in obesity.