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Gene Discovery may Lead to Obesity Treatment

October 13th 2005

Gene Discovery may Lead to Obesity Treatment

Gene Discovery

Research out of the Duke Medical Center may shed light on why it is so hard to keep weight off after dieting.  It was found that skeletal muscle tissue and cells from obese people were programmed to store fat even when removed from the body and forced to grow in the laboratory.

Dr Deborah Duoio found that an accumulation of intramuscular lipids called SCD1 (Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1) becomes over-expressed in obese women.  The increase of the gene SCD1 starts a cascade of cellular events culminating in increased fat storage in muscle tissue.  This may be the key reason why dieting fails.

It may be possible to alleviate complications of obesity by inhibiting the SCD1. The research could lead to therapies for weigh / fat loss. "Obesity is a very complex disease, and this metabolic pathway does not fully explain obesity, but it is a likely contributor," said Deborah Muoio, Ph.D., senior study author and assistant professor of medicine at Duke's Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center.


According to researchers, obesity and type 2 diabetes are “strongly” associated with abnormal metabolism and accumulation of intramuscular lipids.  According to Dr. Muoio "The cells of obese people remembered their metabolic program, which could help explain, in part, why losing weight and maintaining weight loss is so difficult. The good news is it's possible to change your energy balance through exercise. Exercise can enhance muscle's ability to burn fat."

It may be possible to synthesize a drug to aid in weight loss.  Muoio said. "This discovery also provides a potential drug target."

Duke University Abstract

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:40 PM