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Date:4/23/2013

Micro-RNA 155 was silent

The researchers at Bonn University and their colleagues from the Federal Institute of Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and from the University of Regensburg worked with so-called transgenic and knockout mice in whom the gene for micro-RNA 155 was either increased or silenced. "The mechanism was already set in motion when the micro-RNA 155 was only halved in the mice," reports lead author Yong Chen, graduate student of the NRW International Graduate School BIOTECH-PHARMA. The mice then had significantly more brown fat cells available than did the control gro up - and had even converted white fat cells into brown fat cells.

Clues to the causes of lipid metabolism diseases

The micro-RNA functions as an antagonist to the brown fat cells. "As long as enough micro-RNA 155 is present, the production of brown fat cells is blocked," says Chen. Only if it falls below a certain proportion does this brake let up; the blueprint for brown fat can be read and implemented by the cell - the desired fat burners can develop. These findings help scientists better understand the causes of lipid metabolism diseases.

Hope for new therapies against obesity

The scientists at the University of Bonn see in their results a potential starting point for drugs to combat obesity. The researchers have clues to the fact that the results, if anything, can be transferred from mice to humans. Thus, for example, researchers in Leipzig found increased levels of micro-RNA 155 in significantly overweight patients. This corresponds to findings from animal models: A lot of micro-RNA 155 is associated with reduced fat burning. "However, we are still in the basic research stage," says Prof. Pfeifer. The path to suitable drugs is still a long one.


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Contact: Dr. Alexander Pfeifer
alexander.pfeifer@uni-bonn.de
49-228-287-51300
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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