Staying up past bedtime, skipping meals, and snacking constantly all add up to weight gain, fatty livers, and high cholesterol levels for an unlucky group of mice whose internal biological clocks are genetically disrupted.
Researchers at Northwestern University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have identified wide-ranging molecular and behavioral changes in mice that have a faulty circadian system. In people, similar changes in body fat and metabolic activity are known as metabolic syndrome, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The research team, which included co-author Joseph S. Takahashi, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Northwestern University, published its report on April 21, 2005, in Science Express, which provides rapid electronic publication of select articles from the journal Science. The study suggests a surprising new angle for understanding and eventually preventing and treating obesity and related disorders in people.
Jennifer Michalowski | EurekAlert!
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