The researchers at USC recently conducted a study on the hunger hormone released in the stomach of humans and animals. The hormone “Ghrelin” signals the organism when they need to eat or when they get hungry. This helps in regulating the body’s metabolism of the organism. However, scientists are not sure how this phenomenon works in humans and animals.
The study featured in the journal Current Biology recently.
The scientists conducted a study on lab rats to test the influence of ghrelin hormone or the hunger hormone on body metabolism, memory, and hunger. The researchers observed the impact of the hormone by disrupting the connection between the vagus nerve and ghrelin. This nerve is responsible for sending signals between the gut and brain. The researchers then looked at the change in the cognitive and feeding behavior of rats.
Scott Kanoski is the lead author of this study and biology professor at USC. According to Kanoski, the lab rats were feeding more than usual after the experiment. However, the researchers did not find any anxious behavior in the test animals.
Kanoski also said that the ghrelin hormone disruption to the vagus nerve led to glucose dysregulation in the body the rats gained some weight as well. He said that there was not much impact on the amount of food these rats ate after the disruption.
Even though the animals started eating more frequently, their meal size reduced which compensated for their more frequent feeding. Kanzaki said that the frequent feeding of rats might occur due to the impairment of their memory. Memory plays a role in determining the timing of meals as it keeps a record of when you fed last time. The memory impairment in rats led them to eat more frequently.
An interesting fact noticed during the study was that the rats remembered the location where they fed. However, they seemed to forget when they took their last meal. Also, their stomach remained full for a longer time which shows that their metabolism rate also slowed down.
The co-author of this study, Elizabeth Davis said that the experiment led to memory impairment in rats particularly known as Episodic memory. This particular memory is known for remembering your events such as the last meal or a first school day.
According to Davis, the researchers are looking forward to understanding the relationship and communication between the vagus nerve and the hunger hormone. The understanding of this signaling will help them develop better treatments for diseases related to metabolism. These include conditions such as diabetes and obesity. It also includes Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.
Davis also mentioned that scientists will need to conduct extensive research to figure out the medical benefits of this signaling. This research can help medical professionals develop medication for people living with these metabolic disorders. Also, it can help with conditions that usually occur later in life such as Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the researchers, this study indicates a relationship between hunger hormone signals and metabolism and memory of the individual. Since this hormone also releases in humans, further research on human models will help develop better medications in the future.