Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of new gene called Brd2 that regulates obesity and diabetes

15.12.2009
The chance discovery of a genetic mutation that makes mice enormously fat but protects them from diabetes has given researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, USA, new insights into the cellular mechanisms that link obesity to Type 2 diabetes. Dr Gerald Denis and his colleagues report their findings in the current issue of The Biochemical Journal.

The researchers were studying the gene, called Brd2, which had not previously been linked to body energy balance. While complete absence of the gene was fatal, Dr Denis found that in mice where there had been a single, genetic change in the Brd2 gene, fortuitously reducing its expression, the mice became severely obese – but did not go on to develop Type 2 diabetes.

This result was very surprising because in both 'mice and men', chronic obesity commonly leads to Type 2 diabetes, with its life-threatening consequences, including heart disease, kidney and nerve damage, osteoporosis, blindness and circulation problems in the feet that can require amputation.

If the mice had been human their weight would be equivalent to approximately 270 kilograms (600 pounds); despite this, they exercised at the same levels as normal mice and, in comparison, lived for a surprisingly long time.

Obesity is linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes, and as obesity levels soar – it is predicted that there will be around 366 million diabetic individuals worldwide by 2030 – there is an urgent need for a much deeper biological understanding of the forces that link obesity and diabetes, in order to design new drugs and therapies for treatment.

However around 20 – 30% of the adult obese population remain relatively healthy despite their obesity. These are populations with a healthy metabolism but who are obese (MHO) while others are metabolically obese but are at a normal weight (MONW).

Dr Denis said, "Studies have shown that these individuals have a reduced 'inflammatory profile'. Inflammation caused by normal immune cells called macrophages leads to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes - this inflammation is typically seen in connection with obesity but it is the inflammation that is a trigger for diabetes, not the obesity itself. The mechanisms that explain this protection from diabetes are not well understood."

He went on to add, "Much like these protected obese humans, the Brd2-deficient mice have reduced inflammation of fat and never develop failure of the beta cells in the pancreas that is associated with Type 2 diabetes".

The researchers suggest several mechanisms by which the Brd2 gene mutation may protect against the development of diabetes.

These mice have impaired production of inflammation molecules that are normally seen in infections, but that also contribute to Type 2 diabetes. This impairment has the surprising benefit of protecting them from obesity-induced diabetes.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Denis said, "The strong influence of Brd2 levels on insulin production and action suggest that Brd2 is likely to be a promising target for diabetes treatment, but also imply that overactive Brd2 might cause diabetes. The ways in which Brd2 affects the immune system may also play a part in Type 1 diabetes, further studies to determine this are needed."

Further information available from Dianne Stilwell, e- mail diannestilwell@me.com; tel +44 (0)20 8977 6510; mob +44 (0)7957 200214

Notes for Editors

1. "Brd2 disruption in mice causes severe obesity without Type 2 diabetes" by Fangnian Wang, Hongsheng Liu, Wanda P. Blanton, Anna Belkina, Nathan K. LeBrasseur and Gerald V. Denis, will be published in The Biochemical Journal (2009) Vol 425, part 1, pp 71-83 at www.biochemj.org on 14 December 2009

2. Dr Gerald Denis is at the Cancer Research Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Room K520, 72 East Concord Street, Boston MA 02118, USA. He can be contacted through Gina DiGravio, Media Relations Manager at Boston University School of Medicine Tel + 1 617-638-8480, e-mail gina.digravio@bmc.org

3. Pictures to accompany the story are available from Dianne Stilwell or Gina DiGravio – contact details above; Picture caption as follows:

"Despite obesity, mice with the depleted Brd2 gene avoid Type 2 diabetes and several other life-threatening complications normally seen in human obesity. They may provide a model to discover the molecular pathways that could be used to protect obese humans."

4. This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, specifically the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

5. The Biochemical Journal is published on behalf of the Biochemical Society by Portland Press Limited. Portland Press Limited is a not-for-profit publisher of journals, books and electronic resources in the cellular and molecular life sciences. It also delivers association management solutions for publishers, learned societies and membership-based organizations.

Gina DiGravio | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bmc.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>