Mice gained Weight because of inappropriate Eating Times

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(Best Syndiaction News) - Researchers found that changing the time when mice ate caused the animals to gain weight. The study results suggest that there is a relationship between brain clock molecules and fat cell storage. The researchers published their findings in Nature Medicine.

Georgios Paschos PhD, a research associate in the lab of Garret FitzGerald, MD, FRS director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, along with colleagues, studied the effects of deleting the clock gene Arntl (also called Bmal1) in mice. These mice became obese when they changed the time when they normally ate at night.

The researchers said that even small changes in the time matters. They were able to make normal mice – ones that did not have a broken clock gene - obese by changing the time they fed the animals. If the mice should have been sleeping or resting, and they were eating during this time, they tended towards storing energy and gaining fat. Paschos explained that the mice became obese without eating extra calories.

The mice study reflects similarly to Penn’s Albert Stunkard observations in 1955 that found humans that ate at night were associated with higher rates of obesity.

The researchers found that when the clock was broken in fat cells, the hypothalamic rhythm was interrupted. This break in the rhythm causes the person or mouse to eat at un-normal times. The mice would want to keep eating during the day even though they normally eat at night. Humans who should eat normally during the day consumed food at night when their rhythm was interrupted. They may even prefer to eat at night.

Changing the daily rhythm can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome, the researchers said. Night shift workers have been associated with a higher chance of becoming obese and having metabolic syndrome. People with sleep disorders are also at a higher risk for developing obesity because of the interrupted rhythm. Other studies have found that people lacking sleep tended to gain weight.

The researchers found that when the fat cells’ clock was broken, the genes that regulated the release of unsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), into the blood were impacted. The mice that had the wrong feeding times had low levels of EPA and DHA in their blood and in their hypothalamus.

Paschos said, "To our amazement, we were able to rescue the entire phenotype - inappropriate fatty acid oscillation and gene expression in the hypothalamus, feeding pattern and obesity - by supplementing EPA and DHA to the knock-out animals."

The study demonstrates that eating outside of normal hours can have an instant effect on how the rhythms work within the body. After the mice had shifted their eating schedule, they tended to favor it and they gained weight.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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