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Researchers identify a new gene with a key role in obesity and diabetes

January 10, 2013
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
An international team of scientists has identified a gene which regulates fat metabolism and is involved in the onset of obesity and related metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes. The researchers regard this gene as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity and insulin resistance in humans.

Scientists observed that blocking the expression of the gene TRIP-Br2 in mice protects them against obesity and insulin resistance. The study shows that the gene modulates fat storage by regulating energy expenditure and lipolysis, the process which transforms fat into lipids for the body's energy consumption. If the gene expression is blocked, the mice increase their lipolysis and their energy expenditure, thus reducing their obesity.

Obesity is the result of an alteration in the processes that regulate food absorption and energy production. This alteration tips the balance towards excessive storage of fat. According to the researchers, understanding the regulation of the factors that control the storage, mobilisation and use of excess energy in fat cells (the adipocytes) can lead to the development of therapies for obesity and its related illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.

In the words of Cristina Mallol, a researcher at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and co-author of the study: "The protection of mice with no expression of the gene TRIP-Br2, and its selective elevation in the visceral fat of humans point the way to a future gene therapy to counteract obesity, insulin resistance and excess lipids in the blood."

The research, whose findings were published this week in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, was led by researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center, of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), with the participation of the University of Singapore (Singapore); the Centre for Animal Biotechnology and Gene Therapy (CBATEG) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain); INSERM, Toulouse (France); the University of California, at Berkeley (USA); the University of Leipzig (Germany); and the University of Florida (USA); the University of Illinois, at Chicago (USA).

Story Source:

Materials provided by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Chong Wee Liew, Jeremie Boucher, Jit Kong Cheong, Cecile Vernochet, Ho-Jin Koh, Cristina Mallol, Kristy Townsend, Dominique Langin, Dan Kawamori, Jiang Hu, Yu-Hua Tseng, Marc K Hellerstein, Stephen R Farmer, Laurie Goodyear, Alessandro Doria, Matthias Blüher, Stephen I-Hong Hsu, Rohit N Kulkarni. Ablation of TRIP-Br2, a regulator of fat lipolysis, thermogenesis and oxidative metabolism, prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Nature Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nm.3056

Cite This Page:

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. "Researchers identify a new gene with a key role in obesity and diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2013. <>.
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. (2013, January 10). Researchers identify a new gene with a key role in obesity and diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 14, 2024 from
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. "Researchers identify a new gene with a key role in obesity and diabetes." ScienceDaily. (accessed July 14, 2024).

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