AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Liver Hormone Works Through Brain’s Reward Pathway to Reduce Preference for Sweets, Alcohol

Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center recently found a liver hormone that works via the brain’s reward pathway to reduce cravings for sweets and alcohol in mammals. The hormone, called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is associated with environmental stress such as extreme dietary changes or cold temperature exposure and is also produced when mammals consume carbohydrates. The findings raise the possibility that FGF21 administration could affect nutrient preference and forms of the protein are being evaluated as drugs for treatment of obesity, type II diabetes and alcoholism. The researchers reported that mice with elevated levels of FGF21 showed reduced preference for sweetener- and alcohol-laced water as well as a marked decrease in levels of dopamine. “We found that FGF21 administration markedly reduces sweet and alcohol preference in mice, and sweet preference in larger animal models,” said the co-senior author. To read more about this study, click here.

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