Heed the STOP signals…

13 Jul 2018
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SME CORNER Expert column
Dr. Uma V. Manjappara, Sr. Scientist, Department of Lipid Science, CSIR-CFTRI

Heed the STOP signals…
Dr. Uma V. Manjappara, Sr. Scientist, Department of Lipid Science, CSIR-CFTRI

One must be wondering if our body cares about “what we eat” or “how much we eat” or just adapt to our energy intake in a complacent manner. Actually, our brain actively monitors food intake and its nutritive value. Proteins like insulin and leptin keep informing our brain about cumulative long term energy reserves in our body. A host of peptides, signal the hypothalamus about our immediate nutritional needs. Ghrelin is a peptide, which in a short burst, signals hunger and prepares the body for a meal. Once meal is initiated a host of peptides in our digestive system starting from the stomach to the gut keep giving readouts in response to nutrients in our system to tell us through the brain when to “stop eating”. These stop eating signals have been extensively researched upon to fight obesity by modulating food intake. One success story is that of the satiety peptide Glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1). A GLP-1 analogue that binds to the GLP-1 receptor has been used along with Metformin to alleviate hyperglycaemia without the risk of inducing hypoglycaemia. The peptide analogue is shown to slow down gastric emptying and result in slowdown of the rate of release of glucose from the ingested food. This example (not to be viewed as a promotional gimmick) has been stated to enthuse biotechnology based SME’s to ponder upon possible novel avenues to counter the rapidly growing metabolic syndrome.