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Researchers from the United States and South Korea have pinpointed the mechanism in brain cells that triggers a feeling of fullness.
Their findings, published in the journal Nature, shed light on how taste sensations affect neural responses, potentially aiding in improving treatments for eating disorders and enhancing the effectiveness of obesity medications like Wegovy.
Led by Zachary Knight, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) professor in the Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience, the team uncovered that sensory signals from taste receptors in the tongue stimulate brain cells in the brainstem, ultimately reducing food intake.
Korean researchers, including Choi Jae-won and Jang Hee-un, participated in the study.
The study involved observing changes in mice’s visceral responses after injecting food into their stomachs for ten minutes.
The researchers found that an increase in food intake activated prolactin-releasing hormone (PRLH), indicating that taste influences PRLH activation. They also found that PRLH was not activated after injecting saline into the guts of mice. This is evidence that the taste sensory organ is involved in PRLH activation, the team explained.
By contrast, glucagon neurons were activated by mechanical feedback from the gut.
By Ko Jae-won and Minu Kim
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