Medication used to treat patients with Type II diabetes activates sensors on brain cells that increase hunger, causing people to gain more body fat, new research has found.
The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, describes a new way to affect hunger in the brain and helps to explain why people taking a class of drugs for Type II diabetes gain more body fat.
The team found that sensors in the brain that detect free circulating energy and help use sugars are located on brain cells that control eating behaviour.
"This is important because many people with Type II diabetes are taking antidiabetics, known as thiazolidinediones (TZDs), which specifically activate these sensors," said study author Johnny Garretson, doctoral student at the Georgia State University.
"People taking these TZDs are hungrier, and they do gain more weight," Garretson pointed out.
"When they are taking these drugs, it is activating these receptors, which we believe are controlling feeding through the mechanism that we found," Garretson noted.
"We discovered that activating these receptors makes our rodent animal model eat more and store more food for later, while blocking these receptors makes them eat less and store less food for later, even after they have been food deprived and they're at their hungriest," Garretson said.