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Overweight + gene mutation = elevated liver values in children
Date:6/17/2014

A study carried out at the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Eastern Finland shows that a common mutation in the PNPLA3 gene combined with overweight results in elevated ALAT values in children. The ALAT value is an indicator of liver metabolism. In adults, this gene mutation is known to promote the accumulation of fat in the liver. The new results indicate that a healthy lifestyle is important already in childhood in order to prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver, and it is especially important for those carrying the risk gene. The results will be published in Pediatric Obesity. A pre-print version is available on the journal website.

Overweight is often associated with the accumulation of fat in the liver, which is harmful for health. This results in decreased insulin sensitivity in the liver, making the overweight-induced problems in glucose and lipid metabolism worse. In addition to the amount of overweight, genetic factors also play a role in the accumulation of fat in the liver. A common mutation in the PNPLA3 gene prevents the breakdown of triglycerides in the liver and promotes the accumulation of fat. The role of the gene in the accumulation of fat in the liver has been studied very scarcely in children, and there aren't any previous follow-up studies.

This recently published study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland showed that the liver ALAT values of overweight children who are carriers of the gene mutation are more elevated than those of other children.

Furthermore, a follow-up of just two years showed that the liver values of overweight children who are carriers of the gene mutation are clearly elevated when compared to other children. The gene mutation without the presence of overweight did not elevate liver values. The observations indicate that it is specifically the co-existence of extra fat tissue and the gene mutation that causes the elevated liver values already in childho
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Contact: Anna Viitasalo
anna.viitasalo@uef.fi
358-404-194-017
University of Eastern Finland
Source:Eurekalert

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