Faulty Fat Sensor Implicated in Obesity and Liver Disease

20 Feb 2012 --- The researchers analysed the gene for GPR120 in 6,942 obese people and 7,654 controls to test whether differences in the code that carries instructions for making the protein contribute to obesity in humans.

Feb 20 2012 --- Defects in a protein that functions as a dietary fat sensor may be a cause of obesity and liver disease, according to a study published in the journal Nature, led by researchers at Imperial College London. The findings highlight a promising target for new drugs to treat obesity and metabolic disorders.

The protein GPR120 is found on the surface of cells in the gut, liver and fat tissue and allows cells to detect and respond to unsaturated fatty acids from the diet, especially the omega-3 fatty acids which are believed to have a beneficial impact on health. Scientists found that mice deficient in GPR120 were more prone to developing obesity and liver disease when fed a high-fat diet. They also found that people with a certain mutation in the gene encoding GPR120, which stops the protein from responding to omega-3 fatty acids, were significantly more likely to be obese.

In the gut, when unsaturated fatty acids from food bind to GPR120, this stimulates the release of hormones that suppress appetite and stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin. When fat cells sense high levels of fat in the blood through GPR120, it stimulates them to divide to produce more fat cells to store all the fat, reducing the risk of fatty liver and furring of the arteries. This mechanism could be an important pathway for bringing about some of the healthy effects of omega-3s.

When they were fed on a high-fat diet, mice that lacked GPR120 not only became obese but also had fatty livers, lower numbers of fat cells, and poor control of blood glucose. The researchers believe that mice that are deficient in GPR120 have difficulty storing excess fat in fat tissue. Instead, their bodies store fat in areas where it can cause health problems, like the liver, the muscles and in the walls of arteries. In humans, this pattern of obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The study involved scientists in the UK, France and Japan. It was led by Professor Philippe Froguel, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

"Being overweight is not always unhealthy if you can make more fat cells to store fat," said Professor Froguel. "Some people seem to be unable to do this, and instead they deposit fat around their internal organs, which is very unhealthy. Our study suggests that in both mice and humans, defects in GPR120 combined with a high-fat diet greatly increase the risk of this unhealthy pattern of obesity. We think GPR120 could be a useful target for new drugs to treat obesity and liver diseases."

The researchers analysed the gene for GPR120 in 6,942 obese people and 7,654 controls to test whether differences in the code that carries instructions for making the protein contribute to obesity in humans. They found that one mutation that renders the protein dysfunctional increases a person's risk of obesity by 60 per cent. The researchers think this mutation mimics the effect of a bad diet lacking in unsaturated omega-3 fat.

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Obesity’s many risks may include worsening asthma in children

20 Oct 2017 --- Obesity has been found to be a risk factor for repeated hospital admissions among children in Japan hospitalized for asthma, researchers report in a Pediatric Allergy & Immunology study. Asthma and obesity are common chronic illnesses and public health problems for children in developed countries like Japan. The prevalence of asthma and obesity is increasing, and the study authors note that several studies reported an association between obesity and asthma in children.

Nutrition & Health News

Satiety: Mushrooms may trump meat in helping to feel fuller for longer

19 Oct 2017 --- If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then a new Mushroom Council-funded study suggests mushrooms may be one of the most important ingredients. The study on satiety, published in the October issue of the journal Appetite, indicates that eating a mushroom-rich breakfast may result in less hunger and a greater feeling of fullness after a mushroom breakfast compared to a meat breakfast.

Nutrition & Health News

Health claims on snack bar packaging lead to better consumer sensory acceptance: study

19 Oct 2017 --- A study looking into the influence of package and health-related claims on perception and sensory acceptability of snack bars has found that when health claims were given to consumers, a better sensory acceptance was observed. Among other findings, package attributes, price and flavor were also highlighted on purchase intention of bars.

Nutrition & Health News

Golden opportunities: SternLife taps into turmeric trend with drinks and capsules

19 Oct 2017 --- SternLife has launched two curcuma latte options, aimed at fitness-minded and health-conscious aficionados, as well as curcuma capsules that help with weight management. 

 

Nutrition & Health News

Food for the heart (Part 2): Consumer trends and innovations

19 Oct 2017 --- Food for heart health is a key trend in nutrition NPD, with many companies exploring ways in which to protect consumers against cardiovascular issues. Today, in the second part of a special report, NutritionInsight examines which consumer trends are driving innovation in the world of heart health products and what these innovations are.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/Faulty-Fat-Sensor-Implicated-in-Obesity-and-Liver-Disease.html