Seeking to solve one of the mankind's expanding health mysteries, scientists might have found a way to disable the obesity gene, according to The Science Times.
The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis believes it has a proof of concept with the potential to help obese people burn fat at rates of lean people.
The research led by Dr. Steven L. Teitelbaum has been able to disable a gene in mice cells that has shown to prevent mice from becoming obese even if fed a high-fat diet, per the study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
"Myeloid-specific ASXL2 deletion limits diet-induced obesity by regulating energy expenditure," the study of mice found.
The study homes in on inflammatory cells called macrophages, because obesity has been correlated with chronic low-grade inflammation. Modulating the activity of the inflammatory cells revealed obese mice burned calories at the rate of mice that were not obese, per the Times.
The research deleted the ASXL2 gene in obese mice in one experiment and, in a second, injected nanoparticles to meddle with the gene's activity.
The study piggybacked Touro College in New York research that found obese humans and mice burn fewer calories than those who are not obese.
The treated mice burned 45% more calories than those not treated in Dr. Teitelbaum's research, per the Times.
Also, the mice did not get fatty liver disease, where fat builds in the liver and causes the fat to be stored elsewhere. Scientists have found fatty liver disease as a cause of obesity and diabetes.
A co-author of the study, Nidhi Rohatgi, believes the treatment helped get the white fat cells that store fat and lead to obesity to behave like brown fat cells, which help burn fat, per the Times.
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