A paper on the discovery has just been published in the journal Nature Communications. "Growth hormone has been known for decades, but our discovery shows it does a lot more than was thought," said José Donato Junior, a professor at the University of São Paulo's Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) and one of the authors of the paper.
"GH receptors are found in large quantities in muscle and tissue, in the liver, and in organs directly involved in growth metabolism, but we found that the brain is also full of GH receptors. This is entirely new," Donato said.
Brain - GH - Growth - Metabolism - Responses
"We also found that brain GH is not only involved in growth metabolism but above all influences the metabolic responses that conserve energy when we're hungry or on a diet. This discovery, which is also new to science, has important implications in terms of understanding why it's so hard to lose weight."
The study was part of the Thematic Project "The role of growth hormone in the brain: relevance for neural functions and in disease," supported by São Paulo Research Foundation - FAPESP. In addition to researchers affiliated with ICB-USP, the group also included scientists at the University of São Paulo's Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP), Argentina's La Plata National University (UNLP), and Ohio University in the United States.
Decades - Scientists - Weight - Sacrifices - Diet
"For decades, scientists have been trying to understand why it's so difficult to maintain the weight achieved after the sacrifices of a successful diet and why it's so easy to regain the lost weight. Leptin has hitherto been considered the main hormone that acts to conserve energy when we're hungry," Donato said.
Bloodstream leptin levels are known to fall in response to weight loss, he explains, but this knowledge has never resulted in the creation of a successful diet or therapy with leptin that could enable subjects to lose...
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