A new study published online in The FASEB Journal reveals a novel gene involved in maintaining body weight. Specifically, the study suggests that GTRAP3-18 interacts with pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in the hypothalamus to regulate food intake and blood glucose levels. Inhibiting the interaction between GTRAP3-18 and POMC might be a strategy for treating leptin/insulin resistance in patients with obesity and/or type 2 diabetes.
"Eating too much or too little could actually be a genetic problem, rather than an insulin issue," said Toshio Nakaki, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Pharmacology, Teikyo University School of Medicine, in Tokyo, Japan. "Drugs targeting the GTRAP3-18 gene could be therapeutic for obesity or appetite-related disorders."
Nakaki and colleagues analyzed a group of mice defective in the GTRAP3-18 gene. The GTRAP3-18-deficient mice were lean as compared with wild type mice. The leanness was due to neither increased locomotive activity nor basal metabolism, but rather a dysregulation of feeding behavior, or hypophagia. The GTRAP3-18-deficient mice also displayed hypoglycemia.
"This revealing investigation opens a new window on what is likely to be a key regulatory loop in the food intake-weight control axis, with considerable therapeutic potential," said Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.
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FASEB is composed of 31 societies with more than 130,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. Our mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.
The FASEB Journal