The commonly dubbed "fat hormone" scientifically known as Leptin does more than tell our brain when to eat.
A new study by researchers at The University of Akron and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) has shown that leptin may also play a role in hearing and vision loss.
The discovery was made in zebrafish that were treated to produce low leptin, and could could help doctors better understand sensory loss in humans.
The scientists expected the leptin-deficient fish to be unable to metabolize fat, but they did not expect the leptin to also affect the development of the sensory systems. It was discovered that leptin influences the development of both eyes and ears in fish, explaining how the hormone ( already the subject of about 30,000 reports since its discovery in 1994 ) also controls body temperature, the immune function and also bone density. It's newly found impact on the sensory systems of fish draws renewed interest to previous research on mice. These had revealed that leptin loss had also affected eye and ear development in mice.
There is some evidence that leptin deficiencies in fish will likely have the same effect on us. Additional research should be spent on the sensory effects of leptin, which hasn't yetreceived much attention by scientists studies.