A team of researchers led by Professor Sung-Joon Lee from Korea University’s Department of Food Bioscience and Technology has uncovered a new obesity prevention mechanism by olfactory receptors in the body.
Aroma compounds in spices, floral scents, and essential oils produce various beneficial health functions such as metabolic regulation and cancer prevention. These are achieved by the conveyance of olfactory information to the cerebrum, resulting in the expression of olfactory receptors in the tissues of the heart, liver, and muscles.
Professor Lee’s team investigated the activation of the protein kinase A (PKA) signaling transfer process in olfactory receptor Olfr544 by azelaic acid, an organic acid type composite. It was determined that the action of azelaic acid as a ligand of Olfr544 promotes lipolysis in white adipose tissue, thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue, and further oxidation of fatty acids in liver tissue. Consequently, body fat is reduced through energy metabolism, yielding an obesity prevention effect.
Related follow-up research is being conducted for commercial application of the results in developing pharma/nutraceuticals for enhancing obesity management.