Obesity: The key role of a brain protein revealed

University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre
Regardless of how much you exercise or how balanced your diet is, controlling your weight is more brain-related than you might have thought. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) show for the first time in mice that the acyl-CoA-binding protein, or ACBP, has a direct influence on the neurons that allow rodents and humans to maintain a healthy weight.

In April 2015, Thierry Alquier, a CRCHUM researcher and the lead author of this study, had already revealed, with his team, that this same protein allowed astrocytes, cells that support neuronal functions, to communicate variations in fatty acids and lipids in the blood to neurons. Thanks to this essential piece of information, the brain can adjust food intake and energy expenditure — and, ultimately, control its owner’s weight.