Pathway discovered to influence fat accumulation

In a remarkable breakthrough for weight research, scientists have reported the discovery of a neurochemical pathway that stimulates the accumulation of fat in animals laboring under chronically high stress and exposed to a diet of junk food. Inhibiting the pathway prevented weight gain in mice but selectively spurring the mechanism allowed for the strategic accumulation of weight--potentially opening a new pathway to mold larger breasts, firmer buttocks and younger faces.

Zofia Zukowska of Georgetown University's Department of Physiology and Biophysics led the project, which involved an international team of scientists. Researchers say their work may show that a confluence of high rates of stress and easy access to junk food has led to an epidemic of obesity. Mice in the study were left standing in cold water or exposed to an alpha mouse for part of each day and then offered either a junk food diet or standard feed. The mice receiving high fat diets swiftly added weight. An examination of their fat tissue revealed neuropeptide Y (NPY), a chemical messenger that is produced by the body's nerves. They also had extraordinarily high levels of the far higher levels of neuropeptide Y2R receptor, a molecular partner NPY needs in order to work.

- see the release on their work
- read the article from The Washington Post

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