Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Receptor revealed that turns on genes after consuming unsaturated fats

In a paper published in the scientific journal PlosONE scientists from Wageningen University in the Netherlands demonstrate the tremendous importance of dietary fat as a regulator of gene expression. Via a combination of several nutrigenomic tools Linda Sanderson and her colleagues reveal that dietary unsaturated fatty acids govern a huge number of genes and do so almost entirely via a special receptor called PPARa.

PPARa, which stands for Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor alpha, is a receptor that can be found in numerous tissues, including liver, heart and intestine. It reacts to certain drugs by turning on specific genes, yet can also respond to fatty acids and fatty acid look-a-likes. Activation of PPARa is known to lower levels of triglycerides in blood, providing a rationale for their use in patients suffering from altered blood lipid levels.

In their nutrigenomics study, the research team led by Linda Sanderson fed mice individual fatty acids in the form of synthetic triglycerides. Using a technique called microarray, which allows for monitoring the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously, they were able to determine exactly which genes are turned on in the mouse liver and which ones are turned off. The researchers found that the fatty acid DHA has the most significant impact and changes the expression of around 600 genes. DHA is found in fatty fish and fish oil and has been associated with numerous health benefits, including lowering of plasma triglycerides and decreasing blood clotting.

The most remarkable about the study is that the effects of unsaturated fatty acids are almost entirely lost in mice that lack the PPARa receptor.From the literature it is known that numerous receptors can supposedly bind fatty acids and turn on genes. Most of these receptors belong to the family of the so called 'nuclear hormone receptors', which includes receptors that bind steroid hormones and fat soluble vitamins. However, it was unknown how important they are in an actual living animal. The new data show that PPARa is by far the most important.

Many of the genes that are turned on by unsaturated fatty acids are involved in breaking down fatty acids to generate energy. This mechanism likely protects the liver cell from build-up of unsaturated fatty acids, which is harmful to the cell. It also likely accounts for the lowering of plasma triglycerides by fish oil.

Until now, all nutritional interventions with dietary fat in either mice or human subjects involved a mixture of fatty acids. For that reason, it has been very difficult to draw clear conclusions about the effects of individual fatty acids. The mixed nutritional/pharmacological intervention with synthetic triglycerides pursued by Sanderson and colleagues represents a creative and novel way to study the molecular effects of dietary fat. They expect that their approach will set a new standard for many future nutrigenomic studies.

Jac Niessen | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | 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

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>