The regulation of body weight is a complex process in which organs such as the digestive tract and adipose (fatty) tissue constantly transmit information about the current energy status to the brain. The brain reacts to these signals with the activation or inhibition of neuronal signaling mechanisms which acutely regulate hunger and satiety. One of these signals is the hormone ghrelin, which is secreted in the stomach and travels via the bloodstream to the brain where it activates control circuits that regulate food intake. As the scientists led by Professor Matthias Tschöp (Helmholtz Zentrum München) and Dr. Heike Biebermann (Charité Berlin) have now discovered, GPR83 influences the energy metabolism both through direct interaction with the Ghrelin signaling pathway as well as through yet unknown signaling mechanisms.
Further studies shall now seek to identify specific binding partners of GPR83. The researchers led by Timo Müller hope to develop new strategies for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. “If the pharmacological inhibition of GPR83 turns out to be a safe and specific approach, this may point to new strategies to combat metabolic diseases,” said Matthias Tschöp, director of the Institute of Diabetes and Obesity.
Müller, T.D et al.(2013) The orphan receptor Gpr83 regulates systemic energy metabolism via ghrelin-dependent and ghrelin-independent mechanisms; Nature Communications 4, doi:10.1038/ncomms2968