New gene-therapy approach could improve obesity treatment

September 20, 2012 by Raquel Maurier
Jason Dyck and his medical research team at UAlberta found a new, safer way to deliver gene therapy for obesity.

(Medical Xpress)—Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have found a new way of using gene therapy to treat obesity. The treatment was successful, resulting in less weight gain, higher activity levels and decreased insulin resistance in lab models on a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher Jason Dyck, who works in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Pharmacology, published his findings this week in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition and Diabetes. His team found a way to deliver the obesity treatment via DNA as opposed to a virus, which has had limited success in the past, especially over the long term. The results they demonstrated corroborated findings by other researchers who conducted short-term studies or used more risky methods of gene delivery.

"I think our findings may bring this treatment one step closer to clinical trials, as this approach appears to be much safer than conventional forms of ," said Dyck.

The obesity treatment focused on increasing levels of adiponectin, a hormone secreted from fat cells. As a person gains weight and fat cells get larger, the body secretes less of this hormone. People who are thin secrete high levels of this hormone.

"This hormone seems to be protective against a number of diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as ," says Dyck. "But as you gain weight, less adiponectin is secreted and you lose the beneficial effects associated with this hormone."

Lab animal models fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet that were given this treatment gained less weight, burned more calories, were more active, used more oxygen, and were better protected against glucose intolerance and than those that were fed the same diet but didn't get the anti- treatment. Dyck hopes other research teams will move his work forward.

Explore further: Study has shown to reverse obesity, body fat and improve insulin sensitivity in mice

More information: doi:10.1038/nutd.2012.18

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New theory on how insulin resistance, metabolic disease begin

September 26, 2016

Does eating too much sugar cause type 2 diabetes? The answer may not be simple, but a study published Sept. 26 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation adds to growing research linking excessive sugar consumption—specifically ...

Unique molecular atlas of pancreas produced

September 23, 2016

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have managed to produce the first molecular map of the genes that are active in the various cells of the human pancreas. They have also revealed differences in genetic activity between ...

Can long naps cause diabetes?

September 14, 2016

A study presented at a scientific congress Thursday reported a link between long naps and a higher risk of diabetes, though it couldn't say if daytime sleeping was a symptom or a cause.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.