Mice Shed Gene to Lose Weight

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fat mouseWhat would be a dream come true to many people has proven to be a reality in mice. An article in Science News reports on how mice have the ability to shed a gene, FAT10, to help them lose body fat. Even more amazing, those mice that dropped weight in this way were also shown to add to their lifespan.

A study performed by scientists at Yale School of Medicine, led by Allon Canaan, was originally reported on in the March 24 issue of the science journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Going into the study, scientists were already aware of the protein of interest getting tacked onto other proteins so that they are sent to proteasomes, the cellular garbage disposals. Research showed that the mice are also able to live without the protein, and that those who did lack the FAT10 gene were younger-looking, because of additional muscle and lush fur, which mice with the gene were lacking.

The mice that were without the FAT10 gene had a decreased amount of body fat and lived 20 percent longer than the mice with the gene. In addition, they burned more energy, in particular that in the form of fat, with muscles that were increasingly responsive to insulin and less prone to inflammation. Scientists summarized that if the human version of FAT10 works in the same way that it does in mice, drugs which interfere with it might be able to treat obesity and diabetes, while also delaying diseases related to age.

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