Individuals who had the gene variant had 12 percent lower levels of triglycerides in their blood serum than subjects who did not have the variant. Risk of heart disease was 34 percent lower for those with the variant. Risk for type 2 diabetes was 48 percent lower among obese individuals when compared to other obese individuals who did not have the variant.
"This is a perfect example of the interdisciplinary studies between population sciences, nutrition, and basic scientists at HSPH," said Gökhan Hotamisligil, a senior author and James Stevens Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism. The lead author was HSPH Research Associate Gurol Tuncman.
The gene was first identified in mouse studies as a mediator of metabolic disease. Mice that lack this gene, which encodes for a lipid-binding protein called aP2, were partially resistant to type 2 diabetes and exhibited strong protection against atherosclerosis. The HSPH and Channing team -- representing scientific contributions from five separate research groups -- investigated whether the same held true in humans. They reviewed the medical and genetic records and studied the genetic material of 7,899 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Of the group, 4.3 percent had the variant.
The team utilized molecular and cellular techniques in fat cells as well as in human fat tissue samples. They found that the variant T-87C, which sits on the promoter region of the gene that produces the aP2 protein, interferes with the gene and results in less production of aP2 in individuals that carry this variant.
"In other words, this genetic variant in humans looked like a milder version of the mouse knockout model," said Eric Rimm, HSPH Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition. In the U.S., more than 65 percent of adults and 16 percent of children are overweight. Nearly 24 percent of adults have metabolic syndrome, a constellation of conditions that includes obesity, insulin resistance, and hypertension.
The identification of the T-87C variant indicates that aP2 might play a similar role in humans as it does in mice. The significance of this finding may include a potential target for drugs designed to reduce aP2 levels, offering a possible means to protect against some of the world’s most prevalent chronic diseases, say the authors.
This work was supported in part by grants from the Iacocca Foundation, NIH, and American Diabetes Association. Samples used from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study were supported by NIH grants. Lead author Gurol Tuncman is a recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the Iacocca Foundation to conduct this interdisciplinary project and was supervised by both Rimm and Hotamisligil.Contact:
Christina Roache | EurekAlert!
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine