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In the Brain’s Cerebellum, a New Target for Suppressing Hunger

Peer-Reviewed Publication | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

A research team led by the University of Pennsylvania's J. Nicholas Betley has identified an entirely new way the brain signals fullness after eating. The findings offer a novel target for therapies that could dramatically curb overeating.

People with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder, have an insatiable appetite. They never feel full, even after a hearty meal. The result can be life-threatening overeating and obesity.

According to a new study, their constant hunger results in part to disordered signaling in the brain’s cerebellum, a region of the brain also responsible for motor control and learning. An international research team spanning 12 institutions, led by J. Nicholas Betley, an assistant professor of biology in the School of Arts & Sciences, and Albert I. Chen, an associate professor at the Scintillion Institute, in San Diego, used clues from PWS patients to guide investigations in mice that uncovered a subset of cerebellar neurons that signals satiation after eating.

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