Austrian scientists to curb obesity by using gene

08:22, January 08, 2010      

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Austrian scientists found that gene therapy is able to inhibit the formation of body's useless fat. according to the latest issue of the scientific magazine Cell.

After a large number of studies and researches in animal genes, scientists from Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) and Institute of Molecular Pathology at University of Salzburg in Austria (IMP) found that the intervention effect of gene on the formation of body fat could not be ignored.

"Mice in adolescent are still very slim, but very healthy". Studies have proven that slim mice almost have no excessive fat.

The research result shows that an adult mammalian body has not only white fat, but also a small amount of brown fat.

The white fat cells serve primarily to store fat, resulting in obesity what people usually do not want to see, while brown fat cells are capable of burning dietary fat and convert it directly into heat.

Scientists have found that a kind of genes called "Hedgehog" could have impact on the fatty tissues of adult animals. People thought that this gene could only play an important role in embryonic growth.

Afterwards, Austrian scientists, in cooperation with the scientists from University of Toronto, Canada, succeeded in curbing the growth of white fat by purposefully stimulating "hedgehog" in the mice tests.

During the test process, the brown fat could grow normally, thus avoiding the hormonal disorders of the mice. The glucose-conditioning system controlled by insulin would collapse if there was no body fat.

Scientists believe that it would be capable in the future to inhibit the formation of white fat by strengthening the gene activity of "hedgehog." The results of this study will "have a very impressive prospect for medical applications."

Currently about 1 billion people worldwide are overweight, of which one third are "morbidly obese." The findings offer the possibility of treating obesity by using gene technology in the future.

Source: Xinhua
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