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Zebrafish study continues to attract awards

Wednesday 26 February 2020 4:22pm

Kaj Kamstra with zebrafish tank 2019Kaj Kamstra has won another award for his work on the control of food intake in zebrafish. At the Swiss Winter Conference on Ingestive Behaviour in St. Moritz he received the Young Investigator Award for his outstanding presentation.

Kaj is studying the hormone leptin, which is produced by fat cells to regulate food intake. In mammals, leptin relays information about body fat content back to the brain so hunger is reduced and body weight is regulated. Quite surprising however, Kaj found that in zebrafish leptin appears to act on blood glucose levels instead of body fat regulation, much like the hormone insulin in humans and other mammals. This suggests that from an evolutionary perspective leptin may have evolved as a blood sugar regulator, only to then later adopt the function of influencing body fat content in mammals.