Weight problems results in altered power metabolism and lowered insulin sensitivity of cells. The so-called “anti-obesity medication” are more and more used to deal with weight problems and have brought about large curiosity, particularly within the USA. Researchers on the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Analysis in Cologne, Germany, have now proven in individuals with weight problems that lowered insulin sensitivity impacts studying of sensory associations. A single dose of the anti-obesity drug liraglutide was in a position to normalise these adjustments and restore the underlying mind circuit perform.


To regulate our behaviour, the mind should be capable to type associations. This includes, for instance, associating a impartial exterior stimulus with a consequence following the stimulus (e.g., the hotplate glows crimson — you may burn your hand). On this manner, the mind learns what the implication of our dealing with of the primary stimulus are. Associative studying is the idea for forming neural connections and provides stimuli their motivational power. It’s basically managed by a mind area referred to as the dopaminergic midbrain. This area has many receptors for the physique’s signaling molecules, reminiscent of insulin, and might thus adapt our behaviour to the physiological wants of our physique.

However what occurs when the physique’s insulin sensitivity is lowered because of weight problems? Does this transformation our mind exercise, our capacity to be taught associations and thus our behaviour? Researchers on the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Analysis have now measured how nicely the educational of associations works in members with regular physique weight (excessive insulin sensitivity, 30 volunteers) and in members with weight problems (lowered insulin sensitivity, 24 volunteers), and if this studying course of is influenced by the anti-obesity drug liraglutide.

Low insulin sensitivity reduces the mind’s capacity to affiliate sensory stimuli.


Within the night, they injected the members with both the drug liraglutide or a placebo within the night. Liraglutide is a so-called GLP-1 agonist, which prompts the GLP-1 receptor within the physique, stimulating insulin manufacturing and producing a sense of satiety. It’s typically used to deal with weight problems and sort 2 diabetes and is given as soon as a day. The subsequent morning, the themes got a studying job that allowed the researchers to measure how nicely associative studying works. They discovered that the flexibility to affiliate sensory stimuli was much less pronounced in members with weight problems than in these of regular weight, and that mind exercise was lowered within the areas encoding this studying conduct.

After only one dose of liraglutide, members with weight problems now not confirmed these impairments, and no distinction in mind exercise was seen between members with regular weight and weight problems. In different phrases, the drug returned the mind exercise to the state of normal-weight topics.

“These findings are of basic significance. We present right here that fundamental behaviours reminiscent of associative studying rely not solely on exterior environmental situations but additionally on the physique’s metabolic state. So, whether or not somebody has chubby or not additionally determines how the mind learns to affiliate sensory alerts and what motivation is generated. The normalisation we achieved with the drug in topics with weight problems, due to this fact, suits with research exhibiting that these medication restore a traditional feeling of satiety, inflicting individuals to eat much less and due to this fact reduce weight,” says examine chief Marc Tittgemeyer from the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Analysis.

“Whereas it’s encouraging that out there medication have a constructive impact on mind exercise in weight problems, it’s alarming that adjustments in mind efficiency happen even in younger individuals with weight problems with out different medical situations. Weight problems prevention ought to play a a lot larger function in our healthcare system sooner or later. Lifelong remedy is the much less most well-liked choice as compared main prevention of weight problems and related problems,” says Ruth Hanßen, first writer of the examine and a doctor on the College Hospital of Cologne.

The examine was carried out on the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Analysis and supported by the CECAD Cluster of Excellence for Ageing Analysis on the College of Cologne and the College Hospital of Cologne.

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