For some, obesity is in the gene that has been passed from their ancestors. Lately, a new research has found an exclusive obesity gene IRX3, which is the main genetic factor leading to obesity. This implies that now there would be a clear subject for the formulating drugs to fight obesity, which is affecting a major population across the world.
So far, mutation in the gene FTO was considered the factor behind obesity, but the actual process was unknown, said researchers at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study, Dr. Marcelo Nobrega. They found that the obesity linked factors within FTO communicate with a far flung IRX3 gene on the genome, also signifies to be the main functional gene related to obesity. The FTO gene has only tangential effect on obesity, unlike previously believed.
The new research has provided better scientific insight for the gene FTO. The findings suggest that IRX3 is responsible for controlling the body mass and manages body composition. And the connection between the FTO and obesity, that was known until now, was only under the influence of IRX3 gene.
The research carried on mouse showed that the mice, which lacked the IRX3 gene, were almost 30 percent lighter in weight than the mice bred with the gene. The researchers found that the lower weight in mice was due to a smaller amount of fat tissue in their bodies.
Mice that lacked the IRX3 gene also had their fat cells reduced in size and showed an increase in the levels of brown fat. This brown fat is actually the fat tissues that can burn calories, leading to lower body weight through fat loss. Moreover, these mice did not gain weight as the mouse that has the gene, even when they were given equally obesity inducing high fat diet. The IRX3 gene deficient mice were extremely good at processing glucose and are safe from diabetes threat.
The research has revealed the cell processes that are affected by the gene IRX3 that ultimately regulates the body weight. The drug making companies are now in a better position to make specific drug to check the effects caused by the IRX3 gene.
As reported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one third of the adults in the U.S. are obese and are at increased danger of other metabolic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some type of cancer as well. The obesity is spreading like an epidemic involving nearly $147 billion in medical cost annually.
The research conducted by the Nobrega is the latest to explain the biological basis for weight gain and obesity. Last year, in a similar attempt, researchers at Charité-University Medicine in Berlin, associated obesity with a defective appetite hormone. Researchers hope the study will help in the development of effective medicine.
According to Nobrega, the IRX3 gene regulated the expression of genetic functions in the cells. And further research is required to understand the targets of IRX3 and how are they changes leading to obesity or weight gain. At least now, we are at a position to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. And in future we may have drugs which can suppress the expression of the gene and thus help in controlling the obesity.
Source: Medical Daily