During the study, scientists led by a team from the
University of Aberdeen, Scotland, were able to turn obese male mice into lean
and healthy mice by manipulating certain parts of the brain, but the same
transformation was not found in the female mice.
Certain brain cells produce a hormone called
pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) peptides, which are responsible for regulating
appetite, physical activity, energy expenditure and body weight. Targeting
these cells may help in obesity treatments, but the POMC neurons work
differently in males and females.
“Currently there is no difference in how obesity is
treated in men and women,” said Professor Lora Heisler from the Rowett
Institute of Nutrition and Health, UK, who headed the research team. “However,
what we have discovered is that the part of the brain that has a significant
influence on how we use the calories that we eat is wired differently in males