BOSTON January 8, 2013 -- As part of their ongoing research on the physiologic factors that contribute to the development of obesity, Joslin Diabetes Center scientists have identified a cell cycle transcriptional co-regulator TRIP-Br2 that plays a major role in energy metabolism and fat storage. This finding has the potential to lead to new treatments for obesity. The study is being published today ahead of print by Nature Medicine.
Transcriptional co-regulators manage the expression of DNA, either by activating or suppressing the expression of genes. TRIP-Br2 regulates metabolic genes involved in fat storage and energy metabolism. Joslin scientists are actively involved in studying the regulation of the many factors that control the storage, mobilization and utilization of excess energy in adipocytes (fat cells).
The scientists looked at TRIP-Br2 levels in mice fed a low-fat diet and a high-fat diet as well as obese mice: the mice on the high-fat diet and the obese mice had higher levels of TRIP-Br2 in their fat tissue. They also found that TRIP-Br2 is significantly elevated in the visceral fat (the fat that accumulates around the middle of the body which has more harmful effects than fat in other areas of the body) of obese people, especially those who store fat mostly in that area.
To illuminate the physiological role of TRIP-Br2 on fat storage and metabolism, the scientists conducted experiments on mice genetically engineered not to produce TRIP-Br2, known as KO (knock out) mice, which were fed either a low-fat diet or a high-fat diet. The KO mice on the high-fat diet showed little change in their body weights, which were similar to the KO mice on the low-fat diet. The KO mice had higher energy expenditure due to increased heat production and increased oxygen consumption. In addition, the KO mice on the high-fat diet had improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and lower triglycerides.
|Contact: Jeffrey Bright|
Joslin Diabetes Center