IBS researchers discover new insights into the regulation of fat metabolism

A domestic research team revealed that the cause of obesity is in the brain and secured the possibility of developing a drug that can effectively reduce weight without being affected by food intake.
The Institute for Basic Science (IBS) announced on the 1st that a research team led by Director Lee Chang-joon of the Center for Cognition and Sociality found the principle of fat metabolism control in ‘star cells’, which are star-shaped non-neuronal cells in the brain.
Based on this, the team led by Lee succeeded in verifying that weight loss is possible without adjusting the amount of food through an animal experiment in which the new drug ‘KDS2010’, which is in the development stage, was administered.
According to the research team, the feeling of hunger and energy balance in the body are controlled by the lateral hypothalamus of the brain. It is known that neurons in the hypothalamus are connected to adipose tissue and are involved in fat metabolism, but the exact mechanism of fat metabolism control has not been elucidated.
This time, the research team found that the increased MAO-B enzyme of reactive astrocytes in the hypothalamus produces a lot of persistent ‘GABA’, an inhibitory neuron substance, and this GABA suppresses the nearby neuronal cluster ‘GABRA5’. It was confirmed that it caused and worsened obesity.
They then found that periodic firing of GABRA5 neurons was significantly reduced in the obese mouse model.
In addition, as a result of suppressing the activity of GABRA5 neurons by chemical genetic methods, it was confirmed that heat generation (energy consumption) of adipose tissue was reduced, and fat was accumulated and weight increased.
Conversely, activation of GABRA5 neurons in the lateral hypothalamus resulted in weight loss. This means that GABRA5 neurons are weight control switches.