Public Release: 

New link between obesity and body temperature

Mice lacking cold sensor consumed more food when they should be asleep

Society for Neuroscience

Reduced ability to maintain body temperature in colder environments may contribute to the development of obesity in adulthood, suggests a new study in mice published in JNeurosci.

Energy from food fuels maintenance of a constant body temperature by generating and conserving heat. Nearly half of the human energy budget spent during a sedentary life is used to maintain a body temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Rosa Señarís and colleagues from the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Institute of Neuroscience/University Miguel Hernandez of Alicante (Spain) found that, in a mildly cold environment, mice lacking the cold-sensing ion channel TRPM8 consumed more food during the day, when mice are usually asleep. The increased daytime eating started at a young age and led to obesity and high blood sugar in adulthood, which may have been caused in part by reduced fat utilization. Compared to control animals, the TRPM8-deficient mice lost more body heat in mild cold, particularly during periods of fasting when their body temperature dropped below 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The research represents a previously unrecognized link between thermal sensing systems, thermoregulation and food intake, which may open up new avenues for preventing and treating obesity.

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Article: Deletion of the cold thermoreceptor TRPM8 increases heat loss and food intake leading to reduced body temperature and obesity in mice

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3002-17.2018

Corresponding author: Rosa Señarís (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain), rosa.senaris@usc.es

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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