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Lifestyle can alter gene activity, lead to insulin resistance
Date:6/18/2008

BETHESDA, Md. (June 18, 2008) A Finnish study of identical twins has found that physical inactivity and acquired obesity can impair expression of the genes which help the cells produce energy. The findings suggest that lifestyle, more than heredity, contributes to insulin resistance in people who are obese. Insulin resistance increases the chance of developing diabetes and heart disease.

The study, "Acquired obesity and poor physical fitness impair expression of genes of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in monozygotic twins discordant for obesity," appears in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, published by The American Physiological Society (www.the-aps.org).

The study was carried out by Linda Mustelin and Kirsi Pietilinen, of Helsinki University Central Hospital and the University of Helsinki; Aila Rissanen, Anssi Sovijrvi and Pivi Piiril of Helsinki University Central Hospital; Jussi Naukkarinen, Leena Peltonen and Jaakko Kaprio, University of Helsinki and National Public Health Institute; and Hannele Yki-Jrvinen of Helsinki University Central Hospital and Minerva Medical Research Institute.

Environment can influence genes

Recent studies have suggested that defects in expression of genes involved in the body's conversion of food to energy, known as mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, can lead to insulin resistance. The researchers wanted to know if defects in the expression of these genes are primarily a result of heredity or lifestyle. Because the twins in the study were identical, any differences that were found could be attributed to environmental factors, the researchers reasoned.

Twenty four pairs of identical twins, born in Finland between 1975 and 1979, took part in the study. Fourteen pairs (eight male and six female) were discordant for obesity, that is, one twin was obese, while the other w
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Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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