WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- A study published on Thursday in the journal Cell revealed how "brown fat," a type of body fat known to generate heat when an animal is cold and generally believed to be "good" fat, interacted with gut hormone to signal your fullness during a meal.
Researchers from Germany and Finland demonstrated a connection between the gut, the brain, and brown tissue and uncovered a previously unknown role of the complex regulatory system in the control of food intake.
"The view of brown fat as a mere heater organ must be revised, and more attention needs to be directed towards its function in the control of hunger and satiation," said the paper's lead author Martin Klingenspor, chair of molecular nutritional medicine at the Technical University of Munich.
The gut hormone called secretin signals to the brain via the blood or through nerves activated in the small intestine during a meal.
In the mice study, scientists found that without the brown fat tissue, secretin couldn't produce the appetite suppression effect, suggesting that it is secretin's effect on brown fat that caused the feeling of fullness.
In another study with 17 human volunteers in Finland, brown-tissue oxygen consumption and fatty-acid uptake were measured in their blood after overnight fasting and 30-40 minutes after a meal.
Researchers found that higher levels of secretin in the subjects' blood corresponded to more metabolically active brown fat.
Klingenspor believed that brown fat's roles in controlling hunger and satiation made it a particularly attractive target for new approaches to treating obesity.
Targeting brown fat through secretin might hold promise for potential future nutritional or pharmacological interventions against obesity and metabolic disease, according to him.