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A team of international researchers has identified a system of communication networks through which organs and tissues talk to regulate metabolism. The findings provide an "atlas" kind of a picture that illustrates how the body creates and uses energy, and how imbalances in the networks may impact overall health.
Published in the journal Cell, the research revealed that the communication is highly coordinated. And it examined how the disruptions in the rhythms like the ones caused by high-fat diets induced misalignment between the network clocks and could trigger inflammation, which could cause major diseases and could also affect lifespan.
First author Paolo Sassone-Corsi, a Donald Bren Professor of Biological Chemistry at UCI's School of Medicine, had shown the link between circadian rhythm and metabolism a decade ago. And had identified the metabolic pathways through which circadian proteins sense energy levels in cells.
"The human body is a complex, beautifully integrated system that functions at optimum efficiency when the networks are in balance," said Sassone-Corsi in a release. "When this system is disrupted through misalignment among organs, the body will function at a less-than-optimum level, which may lead to disease. We are presenting a map that illustrates how to achieve the best health possible through proper balance and homeostasis."
For the study, the researchers examined a number of genetic clocks. And came out with the resultant atlas, which maps the connections between various organs and tissues, which together forms the body clock that administers the metabolic activities. The team tested these connections on the mice to check how a high-fat diet in mice twisted the perfectly-working metabolic patterns.
"The effects of the high-fat diet give evidence that external factors can disrupt the coordinated metabolic pattern," added Sassone-Corsi. And further said that with their atlas, the information from one organ or tissue group could provide the understanding of metabolic irregularities and the illnesses.
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