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New discovery paves the way for obesity treatment

Discovery could treat obesity Gene that controls development of fat cells identfied

A new genetic mechanism that controls how the body builds fat has been identified, paving the way for new treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

New drugs stemming from this discovery could help hundreds of millions of people worldwide who suffer from conditions associated with obesity.

Researchers found that a gene called MCPIP controls the development of fat cells, also known as adipogenesis. Until now this function was believed to be performed by another protein, called PPAR gamma.

The MCPIP gene is potentially a target for drugs that would prevent the body from becoming resistant to insulin. Resistance to insulin can lead to type 2 diabetes.

"Our research has shown that MCPIP is a regulator of fat cell formation and blood vessel formation that feeds the growing fat tissue," he said. "Therefore, a drug that can shut down its function can prevent obesity and the major inflammatory diseases resulting from obesity, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases," said lead researcher Dr Pappachan Kolattukudy, director of UCF's Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.

Researchers will now begin the process to discover drugs that could shut down the novel gene. This process is likely to take several years.

The findings will be published in the October issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

This article was published on Thu 27 August 2009

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