In a study published in Cell Reports, researchers found that when the hormone glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) was reduced in the central nervous system of laboratory mice, they overate and consumed more high fat food.
Conversely when they enhanced GLP-1 signaling in the brains of mice we were able to block the preference of high fat foods.
In the study, the authors found that activating the GLP-1 hormone in the mesolimbic system hindered communication between neurons which communicate to control reward behaviors, including eating. The result was that mice consumed less food altogether and, more important, lost the preference for high fat food.
Effective therapies for treating obesity are very limited. A drug that mimics the GLP-1 hormone - used first to improve glucose tolerance for those with type 2 diabetes - and recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now being used as a treatment for obesity. The injectable medication that targets the whole body, however, can possibly cause serious side effects including pancreatitis, gallbladder disease and kidney problems.