Subjects: R and D
Inhibiting an enzyme known as Sirt1 in a particular region of the brain helps reduce food intake, according to scientists at Brown University. The discovery could open the door to new pharmacologic options for the management of obesity.
Sirt1 is found in many tissues including the liver and pancreas.
Earlier studies had shown that Sirt 1 had a fundamental role in cell differentiation, aging and death.
In these studies, both fasting and the antioxidant compound resveratrol-which is found in red wine–activated Sirt1 in peripheral tissues. This phenomenon was associated with improved exercise capacity, improved glucose control and prolonged survival in rats.
The Brown study, conducted by Eduardo Nillni and colleagues, is the first to study Sirt1 activity in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain known to be associated with appetite.
Nillni’s team used 2 methods to inhibit hypothalamic Sirt1 activity: pharmacological inhibition and RNA transcription blockade. Both approaches resulted in reduced food intake and weight loss.
The scientists also found that fasting increases hypothalamic expression of the Sirt1 gene, which makes it even more likely that Sirt1 plays a central role in moderating appetite and hunger in mammals.
Nillni now plans to study how obesity affects Sirt1 activity in the brain.
The write-up is in PloS One.