The findings improve our understanding of the physiological processes underlying the interplay between exercise and hunger.
Co-author Dr Yong Xu, professor of pediatrics – nutrition and molecular and cellular biology, said: “Regular exercise has been shown to help with weight loss, appetite regulation and improvement Improve metabolism, especially for overweight and obese people. Baylor. “If we can understand the mechanism by which exercise triggers these benefits, we’re one step closer to helping more people improve their health.”
“We wanted to understand how exercise works at the molecular level so that we could capture some of its benefits,” said co-author Jonathan Long, MD, assistant professor of pathology at Stanford Medicine and a professor of medicine. Stanford Institute ChEM-H (Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health).
“For example, people who are frail or elderly or cannot exercise enough could one day benefit from taking a drug that could help slow osteoporosis, heart disease or other conditions.”
Xu, Long and their colleagues conducted a comprehensive analysis of the compounds in the plasma from rats after high-intensity treadmill running. The most significant molecule produced was a modified amino acid called Lac-Phe. It is synthesized from lactate (a byproduct of strenuous exercise that causes a burning sensation in the muscles) and phenylalanin (an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein).
In rats with diet-induced obesity (fed on a high-fat diet), high doses of Lac-Phe inhibited food intake by approximately 50% compared with control mice in 12-hour period without affecting their movement or energy consumption.
When administered to rats for 10 days, Lac-Phe reduced food intake and body weight (due to loss of body fat) and improved glucose tolerance.
The researchers also identified an enzyme called CNDP2 that is involved in Lac-Phe production and showed that mice lacking this enzyme did not lose as much weight during the exercise regimen as the control group in the same group. an exercise plan.
Interestingly, the team also found a sharp increase in plasma Lac-Phe levels following physical activity in racehorses and humans. Data from a human exercise cohort showed that sprint exercise induced the most significant increase in plasma Lac-Phe, followed by resistance training and then resistance training. endurance.
“This suggests that Lac-Phe is an ancient and conserved system that regulates dietary and physical activity in many animal species,” said Long.
“Our next steps include finding more details about how Lac-Phe regulates its effects in the body, including the brain,” says Xu. “Our goal was to learn how to adapt this exercise pathway for therapeutic interventions.”