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Protein May Help Control Weight

Mice without this oxygen regulator stayed slim on high-fat diet

THURSDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Even on a high-fat diet, mice that lack a protein involved in the response to low levels of oxygen stay lean and healthy, says a new study.

The protein, called FIH, could offer a new target for drugs to help control weight, according to the University of California, San Diego researchers.

"The enzyme is easily inhibited by drugs," research leader Randall Johnson, a professor of biology, said in a university news release.

The mice that lacked FIH showed no ill effects from eating a 60 percent-fat diet, while normal mice fed the same diet gained weight, developed fatty livers and became resistant to insulin. The same problems occur in people who eat too much fatty food.

Further investigation showed that the FIH-deficient mice have a high metabolism and a super sensitivity to insulin.

The study is published in the April 15 issue of Cell Metabolism.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about healthy weight.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, news release, April 15, 2010

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