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University of Ottawa Heart Institute Scientists Unlock Mechanism That Turns on Weight-Loss Gene
Date:2/17/2009

OTTAWA, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ - A University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) research team has unlocked the mechanism that turns on a weight-loss gene in muscle. A new UOHI study shows that the mechanism - a DNA sequence variant identified as rs2419621 - increases the activity levels of ACSL5, among the first genes associated with weight loss, and enables rapid weight loss in people who are dieting.

Heart Institute scientists working with The Ottawa Hospital Weight Management Clinic had previously identified the ACSL5 gene, which influences how quickly overweight people lose weight in response to diet. Unlocking the mechanism to activate this gene represents a major step forward in developing new treatments for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, which are increased as a consequence of obesity. Diet and exercise are both important in weight loss. But individual response to diet and exercise vary dramatically - something that has long perplexed medical professionals.

"Weight loss, especially among people who are dieting, is affected by several factors and we've long suspected that personal genetic makeup is a real influence. We are learning that genes which make you fat are not the same as the genes that help you lose weight. And now we can put our finger on just how the weight-loss gene is activated," said Alexandre Stewart, PhD, principal investigator of the Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Research Centre, UOHI.

The UOHI research is expected to lead to the development of therapies to fuel ACLS5 activity in people. Further, medical professionals will be able to identify people who won't respond to diet and target drug treatment to help them lose weight more quickly.

Details of the latest UOHI discovery were published online in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology ('/>"/>

SOURCE Ottawa Heart Institute, University of Ottawa
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