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Overweight people have too few cells with saturation hormones
Various factors play a role in the development of obesity, including a reduced feeling of satiety in people who are extremely overweight. Affected people can eat significantly more than their normal-weight people without being satisfied. Scientists at the University of Basel have now discovered the reason for this: The overweight people lack saturation hormones.
The researchers report that much less saturation hormones are released in overweight people than in normal people, since the cells responsible for this in the gastrointestinal tract are massively reduced by overweight people. This disorder can be remedied by a weight-reducing operation, the doctors explain. The researchers have published their latest study results in the scientific reports.
Enteroendocrine cells are vital
The so-called enteroendocrine cells sit in the mucous membrane of the upper gastrointestinal tract and continuously analyze the contents of the intestine, the researchers explain. During a meal, these highly specialized cells release the saturation hormones into the blood, signaling the body that "enough food has been taken in and the meal can be ended," the experts explain. The feeling of being full arises in the central nervous system.
Reduced release of satiety messengers
However, according to the researchers, the release of satiety messengers is reduced in comparison to normal-weight people in people who are very overweight. The reason for this is the research team led by Dr. Bettina Wölnerhanssen from the Department of Biomedicine at the University and the University Hospital Basel, together with colleagues from the Claraspital Basel and the University of Liverpool, are now investigating. "For this purpose, gastrointestinal tissue samples were taken from the gastrointestinal tract of 24 normal weight and 30 very overweight patients before and after a weight-reducing procedure," reports the University of Basel
Number of enteroendocrine cells reduced
The analysis showed that the number of enteroendocrine cells was significantly lower in the overweight than in the normal weight group, which is why there is a reduced release of saturation hormones and thus a change in appetite behavior, the researchers report. In the case of overweight people, the composition of the so-called transcription factors, which are responsible for the formation of enteroendocrine cells from stem cells, was also changed.
Changes in metabolism when overweight
"Unfortunately, overweight patients are often stigmatized by being told they lack self-control and lack of eating discipline," emphasizes Dr. Wölnerhanssen. However, the current study results are evidence that changes in metabolism in obesity undoubtedly also play an important role. According to the expert, the current study was able to show that there are structural differences between normal and overweight people that could explain the lack of satiety in overweight people.
However, the fate of those affected is by no means fixed, because according to the researchers, the number of enteroendocrine cells and the composition of the transcription factors have almost completely recovered after weight-reducing surgery such as gastric bypass surgery or gastric gastric surgery. (fp)