A free public lecture at the University of Adelaide explained the important role of nerve signals in the gut in maintaining health, and how that system is disrupted by obesity.
“When we feel full after a meal it’s the result of a variety of different nerve signals from the gut, responding to distension of the stomach and specific nutrients. These nerve signals are vital for maintaining a healthy energy intake,” says public lecture presenter Professor Professor Page is Head of the Vagal Afferent Research Group in the University of Adelaide’s School of Medicine, and Deputy Theme Leader for the Nutrition and Metabolism Theme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).
“The nerves in the gut are a highly flexible and adaptable connection between the gut and the central nervous system. The system responds to both the kinds of nutrients people are consuming and the hormones that regulate appetite. When it’s working well, this system is essential for ensuring an appropriate control of food intake on a day-to-day basis.
“However, the nerves innervating the gut are susceptible to disruption in certain chronic disease conditions, such as high fat diet-induced obesity. It’s for this reason that these nerves are of growing interest as a potential target for drug treatments for conditions such as obesity,” Professor Page says.
“With obesity being such a major concern for our society, we hope that a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms involved in nerve gut signaling will enable more effective treatments and lifestyle strategies.”
(Source: The University of Adelaide)