Article: Does this one gene fuel obesity?
Research done by: University of North Carolina Health Care System
Published: November 15, 2017
For the article click here.
As we all know, little exercise in addition to large caloric intake usually results in obesity. But a recent study suggests a gene called ankryin B-GLUT4 plays a role in obesity. The variant forms of this glucose transporter gene might be the reason so many americans suffer from obesity. It is thought this gene was used to store energy in times of famine.
Years ago, student Jane Healey was working along side Doctor Van Bennett, biochemistry professor at Duke University School of medicine. Healey noticed the lab mice with cardiac arrhythmia which was caused by mutations in the ankryin-B also were fatter in comparison to the wild type mice. Healey made models of mice with variant human ankryn-B genes. Damaris Lorenze, PhD, found that even given the same amount of food and getting the same amount of exercise, most of these rats took the calories and stored them as fat rather quickly instead of using them to burn energy in other tissues. It was also noted weight gain increased when mice aged or were fed high-fat diets. In addition, as fat cells became too packed with lipids, the liver and muscles were affected. This led to a type II diabetes in mice. The mice also became more obese without eating more.
With 1.3% of caucasians and 8.4% of African Americans carrying the variant ankryin-B gene, Lorenzo cultured fat cells carrying those variants and they too had took in the glucose at a higher rate. It is likely this occurs in the fat tissue, having effects on other parts of the body.
With these results we can try to better understand obesity and hopefully rid the negative effects of the variant ankryin-B gene.