24 March Potthoff Identifies Liver-Generated Hormone Regulating "Sweet Tooth" March 24, 2016 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center 0 A research team lead by Matthew Potthoff, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and member of the FOEDRC, at the University of Iowa recently discovered a liver hormone that appears to regulate sugar intake. A liver hormone called hepatokine fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) influences cravings for sugar, according to a mouse study published in December in Cell Metabolism. It is the first hormone found to regulate the consumption of a specific nutrient; other appetite-regulating hormones such as ghrelin and leptin—produced in the gut and in fat cells, respectively—act much more broadly, regulating overall caloric intake. Specifically, Potthoff and his colleagues found that FGF21 suppresses a mouse’s consumption of simple sugars, but not of complex carbohydrates, proteins, or lipids. Mice lacking FGF21 drank much more sugary drink, while mice that overexpressed FGF21 or were dosed with the hormone consumed less sugar and noncaloric sweeteners. FGF21 appears to mediate such sweet-eating behavior via the appetite regulating center in the brain called the hypothalamus, and the hormone increases following sugar consumption, suggesting a negative feedback loop that regulates sugar intake. “We conclude that the liver functions to regulate macronutrient-specific intake by producing an endocrine satiety signal that acts centrally to suppress the intake of ‘sweets,’” the authors wrote in their paper. The identification of this key liver hormone could help you squash your sugar habit and help regulate your sugar intake by communicating with your brain when you've had enough, essentially shutting down your own desire for sweets. This is the first time a single mechanism has been found in the liver that can control cravings. The research could improve diets and help patients who are diabetic or obese. “We’ve known for a while that FGF21 can enhance insulin sensitivity,” says Lucas BonDurant, a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology and co-first author in the study. “Now, there’s this dimension where FGF21 can help people who might not be able to sense when they’ve had enough sugar, which may contribute to diabetes.” These studies have garnered widespread global attention and news coverage. Related Articles FOEDRC Continues To Lead In Studies Increasing Our Understanding of FGF21 DRC Director's Report, July 2017 As diabetes researchers work to identify potential new treatments for diabetes, colleagues at the FOEDRC continue to advance our understanding of how newly discovered hormones might work in ways that may lead to new ways to treat and prevent obesity and diabetes. One such hormone is fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21). Dr. Matthew Potthoff recently showed in mice that this hormone critically regulates the “sweet tooth” in mice. In a recent follow up study with collaborators from Denmark and published in the Journal Cell Metabolism, it is now confirmed that FGF21 also regulates sweet preference in humans. Now, Dr. Potthoff’s team has solved another piece of the puzzle by showing how and where FGF21 might act to regulate the body’s metabolism. FOE DRC Investigators Continue To Excel In Research Faculty members in the FOEDRC continue to excel in their ability to obtain competitive extramural funding for their research projects. In this month’s newsletter I will highlight new grant awards obtained by two of our members and next month I will feature another two. Dr. Julien Sebag, Assistant Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and member of the FOEDRC was recently awarded a 5-year $1.9M grant from the NIDDK for a project entitled: Investigating the requirement of MRAP2 for ghrelin function. DRC Announces New Faculty Members We are delighted to announce that three new faculty will be joining the FOE Diabetes Research Center this Summer: How Diabetes Harms The Heart Study in mice involving FOEDRC researchers, reveals heart-damaging pathway triggered by insulin, identifies possible drug targets to prevent or treat heart failure. Diabetes is hard on the heart. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in people with diabetes, and risk for heart failure—where the heart can’t pump enough blood—is two to three times higher in men and up to five times higher in women with diabetes compared to people without diabetes. Stressing Muscle Metabolism Prevents Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Exciting new research was recently published in the EMBO Journal by the laboratory of FOEDRC Director, Dale Abel. The study suggests that gently stressing muscle metabolism could help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study was carried out on mice where the team found triggering a type of metabolic stress increased levels of a hormone called fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21). The findings showed the animals were completely protected from obesity and diabetes. Interestingly, in the mice which had already started to develop the condition, the hormone reversed the diabetes and helped them return to a normal weight with normal blood sugar levels. New Ways To Predict The Risk Of Gestational Diabetes DRC Director's Report - November 2017 We are pleased to announce that Dr. Wei Bao, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) was recently awarded a $419,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a project entitled: Pregnancy-associated microRNAs in plasma as predictors of gestational diabetes. Some of the preliminary work that contributed to this award were provided by pilot funding from the FOEDRC. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.