Body Temperature May Be A Factor in Obesity
Researchers appear to have found a new link to obesity: a body’s “core temperature.”
The discovery, by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, came in a mouse study that focused on a molecule called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
The researchers analyzed the action of BDNF when the mice were deprived of the enzyme protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B). Earlier research by the Penn team uncovered the importance of PTP1B in regulating body weight, because it counteracts the action of leptin, a “weight-gain hormone.”
In the newest experiment, the scientists bred mice to lack PTP1B while giving the same mice a dose of BDNF. They found that although PTP1B was absent, the presence of BDNF was enough to regulate weight. It did so by giving mice a higher core body temperature. Heightened body temperature is associated with an increased expenditure of energy, and thus a burning of more calories.
The discovery could point the way for new treatments for obesity and metabolic disorders, and possibly for learning as well as some forms of brain cancer.
The findings were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.