Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Faulty fat sensor implicated in obesity and liver disease

Date:
February 19, 2012
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Defects in a protein that functions as a dietary fat sensor may be a cause of obesity and liver disease, according to a new study. The findings highlight a promising target for new drugs to treat obesity and metabolic disorders.

Defects in a protein that functions as a dietary fat sensor may be a cause of obesity and liver disease.
Credit: © Luis Louro / Fotolia

Defects in a protein that functions as a dietary fat sensor may be a cause of obesity and liver disease, according to a study published in the journal Nature, led by researchers at Imperial College London. The findings highlight a promising target for new drugs to treat obesity and metabolic disorders.

The protein GPR120 is found on the surface of cells in the gut, liver and fat tissue and allows cells to detect and respond to unsaturated fatty acids from the diet, especially the omega-3 fatty acids which are believed to have a beneficial impact on health. Scientists found that mice deficient in GPR120 were more prone to developing obesity and liver disease when fed a high-fat diet. They also found that people with a certain mutation in the gene encoding GPR120, which stops the protein from responding to omega-3 fatty acids, were significantly more likely to be obese.

In the gut, when unsaturated fatty acids from food bind to GPR120, this stimulates the release of hormones that suppress appetite and stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin. When fat cells sense high levels of fat in the blood through GPR120, it stimulates them to divide to produce more fat cells to store all the fat, reducing the risk of fatty liver and furring of the arteries. This mechanism could be an important pathway for bringing about some of the healthy effects of omega-3s.

When they were fed on a high-fat diet, mice that lacked GPR120 not only became obese but also had fatty livers, lower numbers of fat cells, and poor control of blood glucose. The researchers believe that mice that are deficient in GPR120 have difficulty storing excess fat in fat tissue. Instead, their bodies store fat in areas where it can cause health problems, like the liver, the muscles and in the walls of arteries. In humans, this pattern of obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The study involved scientists in the UK, France and Japan. It was led by Professor Philippe Froguel, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

"Being overweight is not always unhealthy if you can make more fat cells to store fat," said Professor Froguel. "Some people seem to be unable to do this, and instead they deposit fat around their internal organs, which is very unhealthy. Our study suggests that in both mice and humans, defects in GPR120 combined with a high-fat diet greatly increase the risk of this unhealthy pattern of obesity. We think GPR120 could be a useful target for new drugs to treat obesity and liver diseases."

The researchers analysed the gene for GPR120 in 6,942 obese people and 7,654 controls to test whether differences in the code that carries instructions for making the protein contribute to obesity in humans. They found that one mutation that renders the protein dysfunctional increases a person's risk of obesity by 60 per cent. The researchers think this mutation mimics the effect of a bad diet lacking in unsaturated omega-3 fat.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Atsuhiko Ichimura, Akira Hirasawa, Odile Poulain-Godefroy, Amélie Bonnefond, Takafumi Hara, Loïc Yengo, Ikuo Kimura, Audrey Leloire, Ning Liu, Keiko Iida, Hélène Choquet, Philippe Besnard, Cécile Lecoeur, Sidonie Vivequin, Kumiko Ayukawa, Masato Takeuchi, Kentaro Ozawa, Maithé Tauber, Claudio Maffeis, Anita Morandi, Raffaella Buzzetti, Paul Elliott, Anneli Pouta, Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin, Antje Körner, Wieland Kiess, Marie Pigeyre, Roberto Caiazzo, Wim Van Hul, Luc Van Gaal, Fritz Horber, Beverley Balkau, Claire Lévy-Marchal, Konstantinos Rouskas, Anastasia Kouvatsi, Johannes Hebebrand, Anke Hinney, Andre Scherag, François Pattou, David Meyre, Taka-aki Koshimizu, Isabelle Wolowczuk, Gozoh Tsujimoto, Philippe Froguel. Dysfunction of lipid sensor GPR120 leads to obesity in both mouse and human. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature10798

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Faulty fat sensor implicated in obesity and liver disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120219143222.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2012, February 19). Faulty fat sensor implicated in obesity and liver disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120219143222.htm
Imperial College London. "Faulty fat sensor implicated in obesity and liver disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120219143222.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins