Gene linked to obesity responsible for weight gain

A new study has shown how FTO, a gene commonly associated with obesity, contributes to weight gain.

The study shows that variations in FTO indirectly affect the function of the primary cilium, a little-understood hair-like appendage on brain and other cells.

Specific abnormalities of cilium molecules, in turn, increase body weight, in some instances, by affecting the function of receptors for leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.

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The findings, made in mice, suggest that it might be possible to modify obesity through interventions that alter the function of the cilium, according to scientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

'If our findings are confirmed, they could explain how common genetic variants in the gene FTO affect human body weight and lead to obesity,' study leader Rudolph L. Leibel, MD, the Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research, professor of pediatrics and medicine, and co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at CUMC, said.

'The better we can understand the molecular machinery of obesity, the better we will be able to manipulate these mechanisms and help people lose weight,' he said.

The study is published in the online edition of Cell Metabolism.

What is obesity?

Obesity refers to increased body fat but it is not same as being overweight. A person who is overweight need not be obese but a person who is obese is overweight. Overweight is the term used for a person who weighs more. The weight can be muscle weight, bone weight or fat weight. But a person is said to be obese when he/she consumes more number of calories than the number of calories used by the body. If your Body Mass Index or BMI (calculated by dividing height by weight) is more than 30, then you are obese. Obesity is becoming a global epidemic not only in developed nations but also in developing nations like India. Obesity is linked to a host of lifestyle disorders like diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension and stroke. Easy availability of sugars and fats, messing with our body clocks and an increased sedentary lifestyle are responsible for obesity. Being overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths with at least 2.8 million adults dying each year due to them. In this section, you'll find articles like the need to control obesity, hazards of being obese, childhood obesity etc. You can also look for ways to fight obesity, for ex: exercises for obese people, bariatric surgery, possibility of eating obesity without healthy diet and exercise, healthy food option to lose weight quickly.

With inputs from ANI

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