Salk scientists find that a missed protein can be the gateway to storage and fat burning
April 24, 2012
LA JOLLA, CA-Humans are made to be hungry for fat, to pack it during the holidays and to burn it during periods of famine. But when it is flooded with foods high in fat and sugar, the modern waistline often far exceeds the need to store energy during times of scarcity, and the result has been an epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and other problems related to obesity. .
Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified the axis of fat metabolism, a protein known as fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1), which may open up new avenues in the treatment of diabetes.
In an article published on April 22 in Nature, Evans' laboratory reports that FGF1 activity is triggered by a high-fat diet and that mice lacking the protein rapidly develop diabetes. This suggests that FGF1 is crucial to maintain the body's sensitivity to insulin and normal blood sugar levels.
"Because humans are good at storing fat during times of plenty, we are also excellent at times of hunger that survive," says Ronald M. Evans, professor at the Salk Genetic Expression Laboratory and lead author of the article. "The fatty tissues of our body are like batteries, which provide us with a constant source of energy when food is scarce." FGF1 governs the expansion and contraction of fat and thus controls the ebb and flow of energy throughout our body.
Obesity rates have soared in the United States in recent decades, with more than a third of American adults and 17 percent of children and adolescents now considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. of Diseases.
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Video credits to Salk Institute YouTube channel