Changes in Hormone Levels Is The Connecting Link Between Low-Birth Weights & Obesity In Later Years!
Yes you read it right! Development of fetal brain region responsible for the appetite during its stay inside the mother’s uterus is linked to the changes in the levels of leptin and insulin, the 2 most common hormones found in the human body. Read on to understand the findings of this new study.
According to an estimate, 1 in 5 American adults are obese and more than 60% of them overweight. Moreover, nearly 17% children and adolescents aged between 2 and 19 years are obese. Obesity is leading to the development of adult diseases such as type 2 diabetes in children.
The current study was conducted to reveal the causes of obesity in children. Fetal neural stem cells derived from animal models were used in the study.
Both hormones insulin and leptin play a major role in regulating the energy balance of the body. While leptin acts as a long-term appetite regulator, insulin acts as a short-term appetite regulator. This role of insulin is described by its quick release into the blood soon after eating.
Through this study, it was found that a small change in the levels of leptin led to the development of more neurons or nerve cells from the fetal neural stem cells while changes in insulin levels led to the development of more astrocytes (star shaped cells in the brain). Both these developments occurred at the expense of the formation of other brain cells.
Mothers who are obese or have gestational diabetes or who take insufficient nutrition during pregnancy tend to alter the levels of insulin and leptin in the infants leading to the impairment of certain brain functions.
According to Mina Desai, the study’s corresponding author, this study is an indication of the influence of these 2 hormones on the development of brain cells and how many cells the brain develops which in turn can have an impact on the brain functioning.