Researchers from Western University found a gene that increases fat accumulation when it’s removed from mice.
This means that researchers may have found a gene that is able to regulate fat excess. The experts used mice as test subjects.
Their findings might be one day shed light on why some people struggle with their excessive weight, and others do not. The results have been published in Scientific Reports.
The elements that could influence fat accumulation is a protein in the gene called Pannexin 1m, according to Silvia Penuela, Ph.D., assistant professor at Schulich.
“When we remove this gene we see that mice make a lot more fat,” she said.
It seems that there are two ways in which we can gather excessive fat tissue, according to Penuela. One of them is to create more fat cells, and the other one is to make bigger fat cells.
This is exactly what she said happened to mice. “So far we can see the fat cells in mice get bigger so that they’re able to accumulate a lot more fat,” said Penuela.
“This is what we saw in the mouse no matter the diet. So if [the mouse] had a high-fat diet or a regular diet, unfortunately, in both cases they would accumulate the same amount of fat.”
There was also an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
More studies are required in humans
Researchers still have to see how this plays out in humans. The work just began with the analysis of samples that came from liposuction or breast reduction.
“So we can obtain the fat cells from [human] patients and check the expression of this gene or Pannexin 1,” she said.
Penuela continued and said that “We’re trying to see if we can correlate the amount of Pannexin 1 with the propensity of that patient to accumulate fat and maybe we can draw some conclusions based on that.”
Penuela also warned that this does not mean that scientists are close to finding a cure or intervention for obesity even if this is the end goal of the whole project.
Rada attended the courses in the Faculty of Letters, Romanian-English section, and finished the Faculty of Theatre and Television, Theatrical Journalism section, both within the framework of Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. Up till now, she reviewed books, movies, and theatre-plays, enjoying subjects from the cultural niche. Her experience in writing also intersects the IT niche, given the fact that she worked as a content editor for firms that produce software for mobile devices. She is collaborating with online advertising agencies, writing articles for several websites and blogs.