Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists identify gene that is consistently altered in obese individuals

Date:
March 21, 2013
Source:
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University
Summary:
Food and environment can chemically alter your gene function, and scientists have identified a gene that is consistently altered in obesity.

Food and environment can chemically alter your gene function and scientists have identified a gene that is consistently altered in obesity.
Credit: Phil Jones, GRU campus photographer

Food and environment can chemically alter your gene function and scientists have identified a gene that is consistently altered in obesity.

Related Articles


The gene LY86 was among a group of 100 genes identified as likely contributors to obesity through genome-wide association studies comparing the DNA of thousands of obese and lean individuals, said Dr. Shaoyong Su, genetic epidemiologist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Su looked at progressively larger groups of obese versus lean individuals and found LY86 consistently and highly chemically altered, or methylated, in the obese individuals. "The association is solid; the methylation of this gene is important in obesity," Su said.

It's known that obesity is highly inheritable; that if parents are obese, children are at higher risk. However environment, including high-fat foods and chemical exposure, can put you at risk as well, said Su. Methylation is one way the body adjusts to its environment.

He received the 2013 Scott Grundy Fellowship Award for Excellence in Metabolism Research for his studies and is presenting the work this week during the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Scientific Session of the American Heart Association in New Orleans.

Previously LY86 had been known as an inflammation gene and Su's studies show, in fact, it may be contributing to more than just obesity. He found high methylation of LY86 also was associated with increased inflammation -- a risk factor for a variety of maladies such as heart disease and cancer -- as well as insulin resistance, a cause of diabetes. This association also held up among a group of about 703 subjects that, like the general public, included obese, lean and average-weight individuals.

Now he wants to go back to the animal model to see whether methylation changes gene expression up or down in fat mice as well as fat, pregnant mice and their offspring. He believes that a lot of methylation starts in the womb and there are unfortunate real-life circumstances that support that theory.

For example, in the Dutch famine of 1944 near the end of World War II, babies born to starving mothers experienced DNA methylation that made them better able to survive such depravation, but in the more plentiful environment in which they grew up, put them at increased risk for cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes, obesity and other health problems.

He's already moving forward with more human studies as well, looking at a new group of lean and obese individuals, analyzing their DNA expression to see if increased methylation of LY86 means the gene is expressed more or less. Generally, higher methylation is thought to translate to lower gene expression.

He also wants to pin down whether methylation results from things like a high-fat diet, unfortunate genetics or both. These types of details may help explain why some individuals grow obese with a bad diet and little physical activity while others don't, Su said. It also may mean that positive environmental change, such as a better diet or more physical activity, can reverse at least some of the methylation. People may not get thin, for example, but they may reduce their risk for obesity-related disease, Su said.

LY86's clear importance in obesity emerged by first merging the gene list from the genome wide association studies with a genome wide methylation database on a small cohort of seven obese and seven lean individuals. The finding of increased methylation held up in subsequent groups of 46 obese/46 leans, 230 obese/413 leans as well as the general population panel of 703 at the GRU Institute of Public and Preventive Health. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. "Scientists identify gene that is consistently altered in obese individuals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321133114.htm>.
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. (2013, March 21). Scientists identify gene that is consistently altered in obese individuals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321133114.htm
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. "Scientists identify gene that is consistently altered in obese individuals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321133114.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
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