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Credit: Washington University School of Medicine
Summary: Researchers activated the Hedgehog protein pathway in the fat cells of mice. After eight weeks of eating a high-fat diet, mice that had been engineered with genes to activate the pathway didn’t gain weight, but control animals whose Hedgehog pathways were not activated became obese.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a way to prevent fat cells from growing larger, a process that leads to weight gain and obesity. By activating a pathway in fat cells in mice, the researchers found they could feed the animals a high-fat diet without making them obese.
The study is published online Dec. 5 in the journal eLife.
“This could lead us to a new therapeutic target for treating obesity,” said senior investigator Fanxin Long, PhD, a professor of orthopedic surgery. “What’s particularly important is that the animals in our study ate a high-fat diet but didn’t gain weight, and in people, too much fat in the diet is a common cause of obesity.”
Long’s research focused on the so-called Hedgehog protein pathway that is active in many tissues in the body. His team engineered mice with genes that activated the Hedgehog pathway in fat cells when those animals ate a high-fat diet.
After eight weeks of eating the high-fat diet, control animals whose Hedgehog pathways had not been activated became obese. But the mice that had been engineered with genes to activate the pathway didn’t gain any more weight than did control animals that consumed normal diets.
The Hedgehog pathway prevented obesity by inhibiting the size of the fat cells, Long said.
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This article and images were originally posted on [Latest Science News — ScienceDaily] December 5, 2017 at 01:20PM. Credit to Author and Latest Science News| ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day