* Download comes with a free subscription to our newsletter. You can unsubscribe any time. You will not get duplicate emails if you download more than one report.
From the article:
Estrogen receptors are located on cells throughout a woman’s body. Previous studies have shown that one type of estrogen receptor, known as estrogen receptor alpha or ER-alpha, plays a role in regulating food intake and energy expenditure. But scientists have been unable to pinpoint exactly where these fat-regulating receptors reside or how they work to govern these behaviors.
To determine the effect of dwindling estrogen levels in the brain, Clegg and her colleagues are focusing on two ER-alpha rich regions located in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that controls body temperature, hunger and thirst. The first region, called the ventromedial nucleus or VMN, is a key center for energy regulation.
Using a relatively new gene-silencing technique called RNA interference, the researchers in earlier research deactivated the alpha-receptors in the VMN. The estrogen receptors in other regions of the brain maintained their normal capacity.
When estrogen levels in the VMN dipped, the animals' metabolic rate and energy levels also plummeted. The findings show the animals quickly developed an impaired tolerance to glucose and a sizable weight gain, even when their caloric intake remained the same. What’s more, the excess weight went straight to their middle sections, creating an increase in visceral fat.
The findings suggested that the ER-alpha in this region plays an essential role in controlling energy balance, body fat distribution and normal body weight.