Lipocalin-2, A hormone that can increase the feeling of fullness and suppress food intake in mice has shown similar effects in humans, and non-human primates, according to a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal eLife.
The hormone Lipocalin-2 (LCN2) could be used as a potential treatment for people with obesity for whom the body's natural signals for feeling full no longer work.
LCN2 is chiefly created by bone cells and is found commonly in mice and humans. Studies in mice have revealed that giving LCN2 to the animals long-term decreases their food intake and limits weight gain, leading to a slowdown in their metabolism.
The team first analyzed data from 4 different studies of people in the US and Europe who were either average weight, overweight, or living with obesity.
Participants in the study were provided a meal after an overnight fast, and the quantity of LCN2 in the blood before and after the intake of the meal was examined. The researchers found an increase in LCN2 levels after the meal in those of normal weight. This increase in LCN2 coincided with how fulfilled they felt after eating.
The results in humans mirror those seen in mice and imply that this decline of post-meal LCN2 regulation is a new mechanism adding to obesity and could potentially target weight-loss treatments.
Senior author Stavroula Kousteni concludes, "We have determined that LCN2 crosses to the brain, makes its way to the hypothalamus, and suppresses food consumption in non-human primates. Our results show that the hormone can control appetite with negligible toxicity and lay the foundation for the subsequent level of LCN2 trial for clinical use."