In a research it was found that inhibiting an immune cell gene in mice prevented them from developing obesity, even when they consumed a diet high in fat.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation, published this study, which may one day help scientists to develop therapies that can help people with obesity.
Researchers inhibited a gene in immune cells in mice because there was an association between obesity and increased inflammation, and immune cells play a key role in controlling inflammation.
They wanted to find out what part the immune cells play in the metabolic complications of obesity. The research concluded that the cells have a central role in regulating obesity and weight gain.
To understand the effects of inhibiting the immune cell gene, the researchers conducted two experiments. In the first, they deleted the gene Asxl2, and in the second, they injected regular mice with nanoparticles that interfered with the function of the gene.
On inhibition this gene in the immune cells, they found that the mice did not develop obesity when fed a high fat diet, and that this was likely due to increased energy expenditure.
Compared with a control group of mice who had obesity but none of the gene inhibition, the mice with the inhibition burned 45% more calories, despite eating high fat diets.
“We’ve developed a proof of concept, here, that you can regulate weight gain by modulating the activity of these inflammatory cells. It might work in a number of ways, but we believe it may be possible to control obesity and the complications of obesity by better regulating inflammation. A large percentage of Americans now have fatty livers, and one reason is that their fat depots cannot take up the fat they eat, so it has to go someplace else. These mice consumed high fat diets, but they didn’t get fatty livers. They don’t get type 2 diabetes. It seems that limiting the inflammatory effects of their macrophages allows them to burn more fat, which keeps them leaner and healthier.” Prof. Steven L. Teitelbaum, of the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, MO, Study’s principal investigator
The team is not yet sure why inhibiting the gene in the mice’s immune cells resulted in them not gaining weight while on a high fat diet. The researchers suspect that the answer may involve encouraging white fat cells to burn fat rather than store it, as brown fat cells do.