New Appetite-Boosting Peptides Found

Science  20 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5354, pp. 1134
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5354.1134

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Researchers have found a potential new target for drugs to control appetite, for which there could likely be a billion-dollar demand: In today's issue of Cell, a team reports the discovery of two related peptides, from the brains of rats, that trigger eating in the animals. Unlike most other peptides that have been found to turn up hunger, these are made only in a brain area called the lateral hypothalamus, previously identified as the brain's "feeding center" because its destruction caused experimental animals to stop eating and starve to death. The newly discovered peptides may be key to that brain area's normal function. What's more, because researchers already know the identity of the receptors through which these peptides work, they can now begin to look for drugs that either mimic or block their appetite-enhancing effects.