A study conducted by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine suggests that obesity and diabetes can be prevented by stopping activation of neural sweet spot.

Obesity is now treated as one of the key health issues in the U.S. Around one-third of Americans are said to be obese. Healthcare professionals suggest that obesity also leads to other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and several forms of cancer.

Researchers say that preventing weight increase can be simple by stopping a nuclear receptor to activate in the brain. A team of researchers conducted a study on lab mice and claim that obstructing the influence of PPARgamma, a nuclear receptor in the brain, led the animals to resist weight gain even after consuming diet with high fat level. 

The researchers say that these mice were given diet that were high in sugar and fat but their weight did not increase, when compared to other mice who gained weight after consuming the same diet.

Sabrina Diano, lead author of the study and professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine, says that the PPARgamma receptor in the brain, which produces POMC, was able to control reactions of a diet with high fat level and kept obesity away.

Diano explains that POMC neurons can be found in the hypothalamus, which controls food intake. When these neurons are activated it results in a feeling of being full and restricts diet.

The findings of the research are important as it also has significant effects in diabetes. Diano says that PPARgamma is a target of thiazolidinedione (TZD), which is a type of drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. TZD is said to lower down the glucose levels in blood; however, it also increases the weight of the patient.

"Our study suggests that the increased weight gain in diabetic patients treated with TZD could be due to the effect of this drug in the brain, therefore, targeting peripheral PPARgamma to treat type 2 diabetes should be done by developing TZD compounds that can't penetrate the brain," says Diano. 

The researchers say that they will try to attain the advantages of TZD but the weight gain factor will be eliminated. The researchers' next step is to try out this theory "in diabetes mouse models." 

The study has been published in the Aug. 1 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI). 

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