Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Protein deficiency leads to faster fat burning in mice

Researchers have developed a new, lean mouse with characteristics suggesting that someday, using medication to manipulate a specific protein in humans could emerge as a strategy to treat obesity and disorders associated with excess weight, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

To create the hybrid, scientists crossed mice deficient in protein kinase C beta (PKCB) with the C57 black mouse, a common animal used in research for studying diabetes and obesity.

“These animals can eat more than normal. And they have less fat than normal. That’s a dream come true if it can be extended to human beings,” said Kamal Mehta, senior author of the study and a professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at Ohio State University.

He noted, however, that an appropriate therapy for humans would take years to develop.

At first glance, compared to mice with no deficiency, these new hybrid mice were smaller and leaner. And when the researchers looked under their skin, they saw the mice had less fat distribution in the skin itself and less fat tissue overall. They also had less fat in their livers and muscles. The fat cells they did have were smaller than fat cells in other mice.

And despite the propensity for obesity from their original genes, the new mice lost weight while eating up to 30 percent more food than other mice. This means their lower weight was not caused by less eating, suggesting the protein deficiency corrected for the obesity tendencies by increasing the hybrids’ ability to burn fat, said Mehta, an investigator in Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.

The research is published in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Based on his previous research on the role of PKCB in metabolism, Mehta expected a deficiency of the protein to affect how the body processes triglycerides, or fat stored in body tissue.

“The bottom line is we were the first to show that this deficiency leads to a lean animal. The next question is why,” Mehta said. “In order to answer why, we need to know which genes are changed in these knockout animals.”

The most prominent effect the scientists have been able to identify so far relates to the mitochondria, the principal energy source of cells. Mehta said the new hybrid mice have more mitochondria within their cells than do normal mice, and that the added energy source allows them to convert fatty acids into energy.

“We have shown to some extent that there is increased fatty acid oxidation. We found that they use more oxygen, so that means they are using this oxygen to metabolize fat, convert it into carbon dioxide and expel it when they breathe,” said Madhu Mehta, a clinical consultant and co-author on the study and assistant professor of internal medicine at Ohio State.

The research group is testing this finding with an additional experiment, introducing the PKCB deficiency to animals with a lower production of mitochondria to see if the level of mitochondria increases when the protein is not present.

More work also needs to be done to determine whether the protein could be deficient in just certain types of cells to produce the same effect – for example, by eliminating the protein from only liver cells or fat tissue cells rather than throughout the body. Under current circumstances, the deficiency is present in the entire mouse genome.

“So we need to find which specific tissue needs the deficiency. Once we know which tissue is crucial for this, we can target that,” Kamal Mehta said. “The whole idea is to be able to develop a drug that would safely create this deficiency in humans.”

Mehta also is leading a study testing the effect of PKCB deficiency on diabetes in particular, examining whether the disease can be prevented by the elimination of this protein. An excess of triglycerides in tissue can lead to insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes. Because the protein relates to how the body burns triglycerides, Mehta believes the deficiency also could play a role in preventing the disease from developing.

The deficiency does not appear to pose any health problems. The mice with the deficiency lived a normal lifespan and experienced no premature deaths.

It remains unknown whether the deficiency currently exists naturally in humans. “Genetic testing of lean people could help answer that question,” Mehta said.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Co-authors on the study were Rishipal Bansode, Wei Huang and Sanjit Roy of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.

Kamal Mehta | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Diabetes HDL-cholesterol Mehta PKCB Tissue deficiency mitochondria

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Signaling Pathways to the Nucleus
19.03.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht In monogamous species, a compatible partner is more important than an ornamented one
19.03.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Development and Fast Analysis of 3D Printed HF Components

19.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

In monogamous species, a compatible partner is more important than an ornamented one

19.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Signaling Pathways to the Nucleus

19.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>