From: Washington University School of Medicine
Published December 5, 2017 12:20 PM

Obesity Prevented in Mice Fed High-Fat Diet

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a way to prevent fat cells from growing larger, a process that leads to weight gain and obesity. By activating a pathway in fat cells in mice, the researchers found they could feed the animals a high-fat diet without making them obese.

The study is published online Dec. 5 in the journal eLife.

“This could lead us to a new therapeutic target for treating obesity,” said senior investigator Fanxin Long, PhD, a professor of orthopedic surgery. “What’s particularly important is that the animals in our study ate a high-fat diet but didn’t gain weight, and in people, too much fat in the diet is a common cause of obesity.”

Long’s research focused on the so-called Hedgehog protein pathway that is active in many tissues in the body. His team engineered mice with genes that activated the Hedgehog pathway in fat cells when those animals ate a high-fat diet.

Read more at Washington University School of Medicine

Image: Washington University researchers activated the Hedgehog protein pathway in the fat cells of mice. After eight weeks of eating a high-fat diet, mice that had been engineered with genes to activate the pathway didn't gain weight (left), but control animals whose Hedgehog pathways were not activated became obese (right). (Credit: Washington University School of Medicine)

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