Scents regulate fat storage without affecting eating behavior — ScienceDaily
Dr. Ayse Sena Mutlu, a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor’s Huffington Center On Aging, had an intriguing query. Is it attainable to vary the physique’s fat storage without altering eating habits?
Working with the laboratory worm C. elegans, Mutlu and her colleagues carried out a broad display screen to research whether or not neurons can actively ship alerts that, without affecting feeding habits, might alter lipid metabolism.
“When we found a connection with the sense of smell, we were very surprised. We expected a link with taste or related to eating,” mentioned Mutlu, who works within the laboratory of Dr. Meng Wang, professor of molecular and human genetics, a member of the Huffington Center On Aging and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Baylor.
How scents can have an effect on fat storage
The connection between the sense of odor and fat metabolism just isn’t new, however the underlying mechanisms are nonetheless not clear. Olfactory notion is complicated and extremely regulated, defined Mutlu.
“There are many scents in the environment that can be detected by specific olfactory neurons through specific receptors. Olfactory neurons relay the information to interneurons that interpret the information to command other neurons and peripheral tissues,” Mutlu mentioned.
Olfactory notion in C. elegans is less complicated than in bigger organisms, corresponding to people, which helps researchers like Mutlu and her colleagues to check how olfaction regulates bodily processes. The laboratory worm has three pairs of olfactory neurons that detect a wide range of airborne scents. “Some odors selectively activate or inhibit a single olfactory neuron, while others can stimulate a group of neurons,” Mutlu mentioned.
The researchers examined a number of odors in C. elegans and found that solely sure scents dynamically regulate fat mobilization by interacting with particular olfactory neurons by means of particular receptors. Using a laboratory methodology referred to as optogenetics that makes use of mild to activate or inhibit these neurons, the researchers had been in a position to promote the loss or acquire of fat storage, respectively. They additionally decided that the neurons act by means of a selective neural circuit and a neuroendocrine pathway to immediately regulate fat metabolism.
“Our findings bring a new perspective on how lipid metabolism is regulated and may help understand why some people may be more resistant to metabolic problems while others are more vulnerable,” mentioned Wang.
In addition, the findings are related to the observations which have been made between olfaction, fat metabolism and neurodegenerative illnesses.
“For example, we know that patients with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have metabolic problems, Mutlu said. “Also, our research suggests a hyperlink between the scents every particular person can understand and his or her susceptibility to weight problems.”
“Although more research is needed, it is possible that certain scents might trigger changes in fat metabolism resulting in weight loss,” Wang mentioned. “We may have to watch not only what we eat, but what we smell.”