Human genetic variations may affect people's susceptibility to weight gain. Genetic variants are differences in DNA sequence which occur between individuals naturally within a population. In a study done with mice, researchers tested them with a human genetic variant in the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor. This is associated with a lean body mass index because the way they act in the cellular level impacts metabolism and weight regulation. In the research, they found that mice were better at processing sugar and staying leaner than mice with a different more common variant of the receptor. Since the GIP receptor communicates with a hormone released in response to glucose levels after meals, if someone were to have at least one copy of the GIP receptor variant, they would have an altered metabolism that reduces their risk of developing obesity. The research team used CRISPR-Cas 9 technology to genetically engineer mice with a variant that encodes the GIP receptor. This study found that female mice with the variant were leaner than females without the variant. But they also found that male mice with the variant didn’t have much differences and had the same weight as other male mice without the variant, but did not suffer from weight gain when fed a high-fat diet as opposed to the other male mice without the variant, who did become obese. One of the researchers stated that the GIP hormone binds to the receptor which moves from the surface of the cell, to inside the cell, and this causes the GIP hormone to detach from the receptor, causing the receptor to return to the cell surface.
It is interesting as well as very important to know that people with different genetic variants in the GIP receptor can have different impacts on their metabolism. According to the article, over 100 million adults in the US are affected by obesity. The GIP receptor is the reason some people are leaner than others. This research could give more insight and information on how to treat obesity. As of now, there are drugs that are also talked about in the article which mimic hormones that are found within the body that interact with the GIP receptor. But the goal is to develop a drug that is more precise and that matches to a specific genetic variant. This could be a much better approach for weight loss than the drugs that are now created and this opens doors to creating more solutions to many other health problems that people deal with.