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Biological Chemistry

Fatty Food Reactions Suppress Appetite

Lipids and a protein secreted after a high-fat meal curb appetite—at least in rodents

by Sophie L. Rovner
December 8, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 49

Appetite-suppressing compounds produced by rodents after eating a high-fat meal could lead to methods to prevent or treat obesity if they function in a similar fashion in humans. Yale University's Gerald I. Shulman, Matthew P. Gillum, and colleagues determined that after eating a greasy meal, mice and rats produce N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs) in the small intestine. These lipids then travel in the blood to the brain, where they suppress appetite. The researchers showed that mice and rats injected with a NAPE compound (shown) eat less than normal and lose weight (Cell 2008, 135, 813). Meanwhile, Andrew A. Butler of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, La., and coworkers found that a high-fat meal causes mice to produce the protein adropin in the liver and brain. The researchers discovered that animals that become obese after eating a high-fat diet for three months don't produce adropin normally. However, injecting these obese mice with synthetic adropin causes them to consume less food and lose weight (Cell Metab. 2008, 8, 468).


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