Hormones - Orexin A and Orexin B

Hormones - Orexin A and Orexin B

Researchers have found two new hormones that seem to influence eating behavior, and could lead to new treatments for obesity, and help adults with diabetes control the disease. The hormones, dubbed orexin-A, and orexin-B, are released by nerve cells in the region of the brain known to play a key role in appetite. When researchers injected the hormones into the brains of rats, the animals began eating more. When they starved the animals, brain levels of the orexin hormones increased.

Finding a way to prevent or slow the release of the hormones orexin, or blocking the protein receptors that are sensitive to them could lead to a new way to control appetitie. The process could also be turned around to encourage eating in people who have become dangerously thin.

The team is now is trying to genetically engineer rats that lack one of the orexin hormones, and both protein receptors to see if the defect affects their appetites. The newly discovered hormones are two of about a dozen chemicals in the body known to affect eating behavior, researchers said. The hormones get their name from the Greek word orexis, which means appetite.

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