"We showed that fat tissue controls brain function in a really interesting way," said senior author Shin-ichiro Imai, professor of developmental biology and of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.The researchers found that in mice the enzyme called NAMPT, secreted by fat tissues, affects the hypothalamus, a part of the brain known to have important roles in maintaining the body's physiology, including regulating body temperature, sleep cycles, heart rate, blood pressure, thirst and appetite.

"The results suggest that there is an optimal amount of fat tissue that maximises the function of the control centre of ageing and longevity in the brain,"  Imai said."We still do not know what that amount is or how it might vary by individual. But at least in mice, we know that if they do not have enough of a key enzyme produced by fat, an important part of the brain cannot maintain its energy levels,"  Imai noted.

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