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Liver Hormone May Hold Key To Treating Diabetes And Alcoholism

Update Date: Dec 26, 2015 04:33 PM EST

Urging humans to look 'within', a new study suggests that the cure to alcoholism and other cravings like sugar could lie in the liver.

According to UPI, researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that the hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) can alter the rewards pathway in the brain and lower sugar, alcohol cravings. The hormone is associated with a response to environmental stress including extreme diet changes and cold temperature exposure.

"This is the first time a hormone made in the liver has been shown to affect sugar and alcohol preference in mammals," Dr. Steven Kliewer, the study's co-senior author said in a press release.

"We found that FGF21 administration markedly reduces sweet and alcohol preference in mice, and sweet preference in larger animal models," co-senior author Dr. David Mangelsdorf, said.

Animal studies showed that mice infused with FGF21 exhibited less preference for sweetened water and water laced with alcohol. The findings raise the hope for improved treatments for alcoholism and metabolic conditions like diabetes type-2.

"Since analogs of FGF21 are currently undergoing clinical evaluation for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes, our findings raise the possibility that FGF21 administration could affect nutrient preference and other reward behaviors in humans," researchers wrote in the paper published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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