Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scientists discover control mechanism for obesity

Scientists from the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Singapore Bio-imaging Consortium today announced the path-breaking discovery of the mechanism that controls obesity, atherosclerosis and, potentially, cancer.

The findings were published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, and may help doctors in the treatment of obesity and atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease of the large arteries that can lead to many cardiovascular diseases and along with obesity is blamed for more than a third of deaths in the Western world.

Obesity and atherosclerosis are accompanied by the accumulation of lipid droplets in fat cells and foam cells, respectively.

Foam cells can rupture, damage blood vessels and worsen atherosclerosis.

The team of scientists found that mice deficient in a particular gene, even when fed a high-fat diet, were resistant to obesity and atherosclerosis by preventing the accumulation of lipid droplets.

Dr. Dmitry Bulavin, senior principal investigator at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and lead author of the paper, says: “We are building on this research to investigate if the same mechanism could also control tumor progression and hence potentially unlock new treatments in cancer.”

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