Sunday, November 19, 2017

Does this one gene fuel obesity?

Obesity is an epidemic that plagues the human population, especially Americans, due to an abundance in food and lack of physical activity. New research has found evidence that weight gain is actually predetermined. Ankyrin-B is a gene carried by millions of Americans and Dr. Vann Bennett of Duke University School of Medicine states that this gene enabled our ancestors to survive famine. In modern times; however, this gene is contributing to the problem of obesity. Variants in aknyrin-B causes fat cells to absorb glucose more rapidly and double in size. This gene was observed in two groups of mice, those with and without the gene variants. The study showed that instead of glucose being sent to other tissues as energy, it was locked up in fat tissue of the mice with the gene variants despite exercising and having the same diet as the normal mice. Researchers further found that the accumulation of the fat cells "spilled over" to the liver and muscles and this disrupted insulin levels due to the inflammation. This is an indicative sign of type II diabetes, illuminating how important it is to identify ankyrin-B variants.
Now that an underlying physiological mechanism is responsible for weight gain, this research should be utilized to help those that have variants in the ankyrin-B gene. It can be frustrating for people with this gene to lose weight despite how healthy they eat or how much they exercise. With the identification of the effects of this gene, researchers also have insight as to how to attack the obesity epidemic.

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing news, especially to the United States, due to our increase in obesity in the past century. Knowing that obesity can be found in out genes is important in the fact that it can be preventable if given the right diet and exercise and mind set. Great post!