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19 March 2009

When the mouse is full, the grain IS sour!

"Wan daut Mustje saut ess, ess daut Kuarntje betta" This is a quote my Grandpa Klassen used to say.  It is basically used to refuse yet more (fabulous Mennonite) food. Translated, it means "when the Mouse is full, the grain is sour".  Who knew that he was right? I found a paper demonstrating that leptin, the hormone which indicates "uncle" to the brain and tells it to stop eating, actually dampens nerve impulses from sweet receptors in the tongue (in mice)!! Here is the Abstract:

Kirio Kawai et al.  Leptin as a modulator of sweet taste sensitivities in mice.  2000 PNAS.
"Leptin acts as a potent inhibitory factor against obesity by regulating energy expenditure, food intake, and adiposity. The obese diabetic db/db mouse, which has defects in leptin receptor, displays enhanced neural responses and elevated behavioral preference to sweet stimuli. Here, we show the effects of leptin on the peripheral taste system. An administration of leptin into lean mice suppressed responses of peripheral taste nerves (chorda tympani and glossopharyngeal) to sweet substances (sucrose and saccharin) without affecting responses to sour, salty, and bitter substances. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of activities of taste receptor cells isolated from circumvallate papillae (innervated by the glossopharyngeal nerve) demonstrated that leptin activated outward K+ currents, which resulted in hyperpolarization of taste cells. The db/db mouse with impaired leptin receptors showed no such leptin suppression. Taste tissue (circumvallate papilla) of lean mice expressed leptin-receptor mRNA and some of the taste cells exhibited immunoreactivities to antibodies of the leptin receptor. Taken together, these observations suggest that the taste organ is a peripheral target for leptin, and that leptin may be a sweet-sensing modulator (suppressor) that may take part in regulation of food intake. Defects in this leptin suppression system in db/db mice may lead to their enhanced peripheral neural responses and enhanced behavioral preferences for sweet substances."

so, w00t!  Grampa didn't even know he was on to something!
We are in the midst of studying metabolism and nutrition, in the context of cases of Enzyme deficiency, Anorexia Nervosa, and juvenile diabetes. And my partner in crime, Brady and I, are currently attempting a low/slow carb diet.  So that gives me a good excuse to read up from both directions.  There is an amazing amount of conflicting nutrition information published. And I don't mean just on the lunatic fringe of cyberspace, but in published journals on PubMed. Everybody's got a theory, but nobody knows for sure. All I know is that I've tried everything from Jenny Craig to Weightwatchers to Nutrisystem(lost my gallbladder over that one) to the Cabbage Soup diet to Xenical to lose the pounds, and they just seem to roll right back on. But I can't give up yet, I'm not dead! Either the fat or the diets will kill me. Stay tuned.

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