Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews


Print Page Follow BioNews on Twitter BioNews RSS feed

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook







'Gluttony gene' stops mice feeling full

26 March 2012

By Kimberley Bryon-Dodd

Appeared in BioNews 650

A mutation in a gene linked to obesity causes mice to eat up to 80 percent more than normal, a study suggests.

After eating, hormones send signals to the brain to let it know it's full. However, scientists found that in mice with a faulty version of the BDNF gene, these messages were 'blocked'.

'If there is a problem with the BDNF gene, neurons can't talk to each other, and the leptin and insulin [hormone] signals are ineffective, and appetite is not modified', said researcher Professor Baoji Xu from the Georgetown Medical Centre in the USA.

When the team monitored the eating habits of mice with and without the mutation, they found males were twice as heavy as their normal counterparts, and females were 2.7 times heavier. This was to do with them over-eating, rather than a reduction in their activity levels.

An additional part of the study, published in Nature Medicine, looked at what happened when leptin, often referred to as the 'hunger hormone' due to its role in regulating appetite, was injected into the mice. While the hormone had no effect on the mice with the BDNF mutation, there was a 26 percent reduction in amount of food eaten in those with a non-mutated gene.

The researchers now hope to use these results to help control obesity in humans.

Professor Xu said: 'This discovery may open up novel strategies to help the brain control body weight'.

However, any future treatment is still a long way off. Although we do have the BDNF gene, the mutation examined in this study is rare in humans and it cannot be assumed that human bodies react in exactly the same way as mice.

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, told the Daily Mail that 'fixing the mutation may not be plain sailing' and 'even when its fixed in mice it will be years before his solution can he be used in humans'.

 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

28 May 2014 - by Siobhan Chan 
Genes responsible for night eating syndrome, where eating patterns are out of sync with sleeping schedules, have been found in a study on mice... [Read More]
22 July 2013 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
A gene known to be linked to a much higher risk of obesity has been found to affect levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, according to an international group of scientists... [Read More]
16 April 2012 - by Oliver Timmis 
Two new genetic variants that could increase the risk of childhood obesity have been identified in the largest ever genome-wide study of the disease... [Read More]

19 March 2012 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars 
A gene known to protect from cancer might also prevent obesity, scientists say. The researchers had set out to search for a link between the Pten gene and a longer lifespan in mice, but to their surprise, a double dose of the gene also led the mice to be thinner than their normal counterparts... [Read More]
07 November 2011 - by Marianne Neary 
When it comes to our weight, there is no need to wallow in the gene pool. Scientists have found that physical activity lessens the link between genes and obesity... [Read More]
19 September 2011 - by Mehmet Fidanboylu 
Scientists in Scotland have discovered a number of genes that are highly expressed in fat tissue and lead to storage of excess fat in mice. The findings, reported in PLoS ONE, could explain why some people carry more weight than others despite sharing similar diets... [Read More]
23 May 2011 - by Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
Scientists say they have found a 'master regulator' gene, KLF14, which controls how active some fat metabolism genes are in your fat cells.... [Read More]

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to Login or Register to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

 


 

- click here to enquire about using this story.

Printer Friendly Page

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
Become a Friend of PET HERE, and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation

The Progress Educational Trust was shortlisted for the Charity Times Awards 2011

Good Fundraising Code

Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details