A Sympathetic Defense Against Obesity

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Science  02 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5582, pp. 780-781
DOI: 10.1126/science.1074923

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One of the most puzzling questions in obesity research is why some humans rapidly gain weight when they overeat, whereas others do not. In a compelling Perspective, Dulloo explains exciting new findings ( Bachman et al.) that reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying thermogenesis, a process in which extra food is converted into heat instead of fat. As Dulloo discloses, diet-induced thermogenesis is under the control of signaling through b-adrenergic receptors of the sympathetic nervous system. This work opens the door to developing anti-obesity therapeutics that activate diet-induced thermogenesis.