Current Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.09.017″ width=”800″ height=”530″/>

Graphic abstract. credit: Modern biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.09.017

According to neuroscientists at the University of Manchester and colleagues at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, mice tricked into thinking they were starving had an easier time dealing with inflammation.

A mouse study published in Modern biology, also showed for the first time that the well-known protective effects of fasting are at least partially mediated by the brain, rather than by nutrient deprivation, as is commonly believed. A research team has shown that tricking the brain into thinking that fasting is enough to induce the effect of true fasting in fed mice.

Scientists have long known that intermittent fasting can provide a number of health benefits, including reducing the severity of chronic inflammation, helping to regenerate the immune system, easing the side effects of chemotherapy and even promoting longevity. But now researchers are showing that it is possible to induce some of the beneficial effects of fasting in mice, even if they are not fasting themselves.

The team devised a way to turn on a group of about 5,000 specialized brain cells called AgRP neurons — a tiny number compared to the roughly 70 million nerve cells in the entire brain that are responsible for hunger. Using special imaging techniques, they were able to visualize the effect of systemic inflammation in the mice The brain cells of whose specialists were created to glow fluorescently.

Loss of appetite and negative energy balance are common signs of infection and inflammation in all animals, but are thought to have a protective role by reducing availability of nutrients host and pathogen metabolism. However, the team found that AgRP neurons detect reduced nutrient levels and respond by sending anti-inflammatory signals to the body. Artificially turning on these special brain cells was also enough to create an anti-inflammatory effect.

Senior author Dr Giuseppe D’Agostino, from the University of Manchester, said: “Although it may be considered paradoxical, the beneficial effect of fasting during illness is well known. We have now found that the brain plays an important role in this mechanism.’

Dr Gabriela Aviello from the University of Naples added: “Obviously there is still a long way to go, but the hope is that if we can harness this mechanism, there may be a way to develop a fasting memetic therapy that produces beneficial effects fastingin those medical conditions where calorie restriction is less desirable or counterproductive.”

A diet that mimics fasting reduces signs of dementia in mice

Additional information:
Mehdi Boutagouga Boudjadja and others. Hypothalamic AgRP neurons exert top-down control of systemic TNF-α release during endotoxemia, Modern biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.09.017

Citation: Tricking the Brain into Thinking Fasting Copes with Inflammation Better (2022, October 3) Retrieved October 3, 2022, from .html

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