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How do we get the body to stop storing fat?
Many people struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, overweight and obesity are widespread these days. In the future, however, there could be an easy way to avoid fat storage and weight gain. Researchers have now found in experiments on mice that genetic deletion (deletion from the genes) of a single enzyme leads to the body's ability to store fat to be completely stopped.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen found in their current study that removing a single enzyme in mice causes the animals not to gain weight even on a high-fat diet because the body's ability to store fat is removed. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Molecular Metabolism".
What is NAMPT?
An enzyme called NAMPT has been linked to obesity in humans and animals in several studies. Scientists have found that the presence of the enzyme in adipose tissue increases metabolic functionality in numerous body tissues, including adipose tissue. This increases the body's ability to store fat.
Laboratory mice have been genetically modified
NAMPT in adipose tissue has long been an extraordinary benefit to our ancestors, but high-calorie, high-calorie foods are a burden in today's society, explains study author Zachary Gerhart-Hines of the University of Copenhagen. To better understand the effects of this vital enzyme, the researchers bred mice that lacked NAMPT in adipose tissue. When the genetically modified mice were then fed a high-fat diet, they were unable to gain weight, the experts explain.
Compared to a control group of mice on the same diet who developed obesity, the NAMPT mice also appeared to be able to better control their blood sugar levels despite the unhealthy high-fat diet.
Experimental animals received a very unhealthy diet
The mice were given a diet that more or less corresponded to the constant consumption of burgers and pizza, explains study author Karen Nørgaard Nielsen from the University of Copenhagen. However, the animals were unable to expand their fat tissue. The primary goal is that by understanding these fundamental principles of how obesity arises, knowledge about the development of new treatment strategies for metabolic diseases can also be derived.
Are the results transferable to humans?
The results of the study are certainly fascinating, but the therapy carried out cannot be easily transferred to humans, the researchers say. NAMPT is an enzyme that is expressed in a variety of organs and tissues, so that it can directly lead to inhibitory side effects in humans. Interestingly, so-called NAMPT inhibitors are also being investigated for therapies against cancer, although recent research has shown that synthesized molecules can be developed that specifically target tumors and lead to cell death.
More research needs to be done
More research on the subject is now needed to examine exactly how a lack of NAMPT inhibits fat storage and obesity. It is hoped that understanding the mechanism could help develop a more targeted treatment strategy that regulates fat storage without causing the broader systemic problems that would result from completely eliminating NAMPT from a body, the scientists explain. (as)