Activating Melanocortin neurons may hold therapeutic benefits for patients one day, especially for [people with diabetes] who need improved blood-glucose regulation. ©Shutterstock.
Physical activity is a pre-requisite to regulate blood sugar levels to keep diabetes at bay. According to the recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), presently more than 100 million people are living with diabetes or prediabetes.
In addition, 30 million U.S. adults suffer from the condition and more than 84 million have prediabetes. As per CDC. Within a period of 5 years, prediabetes develops into diabetes.
As per a new research, less physical activity than anticipated is required to reap health benefits to manage blood sugar levels.
Dr Kevin Williams, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, he along with his colleagues studied the effects of a single round of exercise on 2 type of neurons in mice for the new study.
The neurons, which humans share with rodents, make up the so-called melanocortin brain circuit. The neurons in the circuit are hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons and neuropeptide Y/agouti-related peptide (NPY/AgRP) neurons.
POMC neurons, according to scientists, are associated with diminished appetite, lower blood sugar levels, and a more active metabolism.
On the contrary, NPY/AgRP neurons are associated with increased appetite and a slower metabolism.
These findings were published by Dr Williams and colleagues in the Journal Molecular Metabolism.
The findings suggest that a single round of exercise activates POMC neurons but deactivate the appetite-boosting NPY/AgRP neurons. The study conducted on mice revealed that exercise in increased amount is not required to alter the activity of these neurons. After training the mice for a period ranging from 0-10 days, it was found neuronal effects lasted longer if the training period was longer.
Finally, POMC, the neurons responsible for boosting metabolism stayed active for longer if they also expressed leptin receptors. Leptin is a metabolic hormone that previous research has shown is of benefit to the synapses of POMC neurons.
Dr Kevin Williams was quoted saying ” Based on our results, we would predict that getting out and exercising even once in a semi-intense manner can reap benefits that can last for days, in particular with respect to glucose metabolism.”
The findings also revealed the rodents lost their appetite after the workout and the effect lasted for about 6 hours. Dr Williams explained that “This result may explain at the neural circuit level why many people don’t feel hungry immediately after exercise.”
He also added that “This research is not just for improving fitness. A better understanding of neural links to exercise can potentially help a number of conditions affected by glucose regulation.”
“It is possible that activating melanocortin neurons may hold therapeutic benefits for patients one day, especially for [people with diabetes] who need improved blood-glucose regulation.”
Source:: Daily times