New weapon in war against obesity

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Published: April 16, 2016 6:11 PM

A team of scientists has uncovered a potential approach to combat obesity in those prone to weight gain.

A team of scientists has uncovered a potential approach to combat obesity in those prone to weight gain.

For the first time, the Universite Catholique de Louvain scientists kick-started the natural process by which genetically predisposed obese mice gain weight, opening up a new potential approach to fight off obesity.

The study suggests that impaired brown adipose tissue (BAT), otherwise known as ‘brown fat’, drives obesity, and by stimulating heat production in this fatty tissue, weight-management and glucose tolerance can be improved.

The results show that certain cellular impairments found in one’s metabolic make-up increases the likelihood of obesity and the associated issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, said lead author Laurence Poekes. “By intervening to reverse such impairments using a mouse model, we believe effective therapeutic strategies could be developed to combat obesity and associated comorbidities.”

In the study, male foz/foz mice were studied as they are prone to developing metabolic syndrome, which is characterised by obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. The foz/foz mice were studied alongside wild-type mice that do not have the same metabolic predisposition.

The results showed that for the foz/foz mice that had stimulated BAT activity, they experienced decreased body weight gain and improved glucose tolerance compared to untreated foz/foz mice.

“This study uncovers a smart approach that could help the medical community develop effective interventions to address our global population’s obesity epidemic,” says Professor Tom Hemming Karlssen, EASL Vice-Secretary. “I look forward to seeing this approach further investigated in future research.”

The study was presented at The International Liver CongressTM in Barcelona, Spain.

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