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Protein deficiency leads to faster fat burning in mice, study shows
Date:3/12/2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio Researchers have developed a new, lean mouse with characteristics suggesting that someday, using medication to manipulate a specific protein in humans could emerge as a strategy to treat obesity and disorders associated with excess weight, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

To create the hybrid, scientists crossed mice deficient in protein kinase C beta (PKCB) with the C57 black mouse, a common animal used in research for studying diabetes and obesity.

These animals can eat more than normal. And they have less fat than normal. Thats a dream come true if it can be extended to human beings, said Kamal Mehta, senior author of the study and a professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at Ohio State University.

He noted, however, that an appropriate therapy for humans would take years to develop.

At first glance, compared to mice with no deficiency, these new hybrid mice were smaller and leaner. And when the researchers looked under their skin, they saw the mice had less fat distribution in the skin itself and less fat tissue overall. They also had less fat in their livers and muscles. The fat cells they did have were smaller than fat cells in other mice.

And despite the propensity for obesity from their original genes, the new mice lost weight while eating up to 30 percent more food than other mice. This means their lower weight was not caused by less eating, suggesting the protein deficiency corrected for the obesity tendencies by increasing the hybrids ability to burn fat, said Mehta, an investigator in Ohio States Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.

The research is published in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Based on his previous research on the role of PKCB in metabolism, Mehta expected a deficiency of the protein to affect how the body processes triglycerides, or fat stored in body tissue.

The bottom line is we were the first to s
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Contact: Kamal Mehta
Mehta.80@osu.edu
614-688-8451
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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