Research Sheds Light on How the Body Regulates Fundamental Neuro Hormone

New research has revealed a previously unknown mechanism in the body which regulates a hormone that is crucial for motivation, stress responses and control of blood pressure, pain and appetite. The breakthrough could be used to design drugs to help fight health problems connected with these functions in the future.

Researchers at the University of Bristol and University College London found that lactate – essentially lactic acid – causes cells in the brain to release more noradrenaline (norepinephrine in US English), a hormone and neurotransmitter which is fundamental for brain function. Without it people can hardly wake up or focus on anything.

This image shows neurons and astrocytes in the brain.

The main cells of the brain, with neurons in yellow and astrocytes in orange. Adapted from the University of Bristol press release.