Oestrogen receptor causes weight loss in male mice

April 13, 2017
Oestrogen receptor causes weight loss in male mice
Lower body and extremities of a mouse in the magnetic resonance tomograph: In the false colour image, fat tissue is highlighted in blue and the muscles in brown. Credit: MPI for Heart and Lung Research

Muscles consume a large part of the body's energy. Hence when fat metabolism in muscle cells is impaired, the organism gains weight. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim have discovered that a regulatory circuit for an oestrogen receptor in muscle cells only controls fat metabolism in male mice. The receptor is regulated by an RNA molecule known as miR-22. If this molecule is lacking, more receptor molecules are formed and the animals lose weight as a result, however this only happens in males.

The scientists led by Thomas Böttger from the Max Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim deactivated the RNA molecule miR-22 in mice using genetic engineering. "The males formed less adipose tissue and gained less weight than mice in which miR-22 is still active. This would indicate that miR-22 is important for the regulation of lipometabolism," says Thomas Böttger. However, the mutation does not have any effect on the weight of female animals.

Further experiments showed that miR-22 controls the : in mice that lack active miR-22, the form more receptors. "The more oestrogen in the muscle cells, the less fat tissue formed. The reason for this is the higher energy consumption of the animals' muscle cells," explains Böttger. Accordingly, the muscles play an important role in an organism's energy balance.

The Max Planck Scientists also succeeded in answering the question as to why miR-22 has no effect on the oestrogen receptor and weight of female mice: the receptor is basically more active in females. "For this reason, it suppresses the emergence of active miR-22 molecules in the female of the species, and the activity level of the receptor remains high. As opposed to this, in the males, miR-22 limits the amount of oestrogen receptors in the muscle tissue and in this way reduces the breakdown of fat," says Böttger.

This difference between the sexes could also be of medical significance: "It may be possible to reduce the formation of fat one day and hence help to prevent obesity by increasing energy metabolism in muscle cells," says Böttger.

Explore further: Obesity reprogrammes muscle stem cells

More information: Judith Schweisgut et al. Sex‐specific, reciprocal regulation of ERα and miR‐22 controls muscle lipid metabolism in male mice, The EMBO Journal (2017). DOI: 10.15252/embj.201695988

Related Stories

Obesity reprogrammes muscle stem cells

February 22, 2017
Obesity is associated with reduced muscle mass and impaired metabolism. Epigenetic changes that affect the formation of new muscle cells may be a contributing factor, according to new research from Lund University, Sweden.

Estrogen treatment with no side-effects in sight

April 11, 2011
Oestrogen treatment for osteoporosis has often been associated with serious side-effects. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now, in mice, found a way of utilising the positive ...

Gene controls stem cells during muscle regeneration

June 2, 2015
Unlike many other organs, skeletal muscles have a high potential for regeneration. When a muscle is injured, the muscle stem cells – also known as satellite cells – located between the individual muscle fibres rapidly ...

Molecule from trees helps female mice only resist weight gain

March 5, 2015
A molecule found in some plants can combat weight gain induced by a high-fat diet, but only in female mice, not males. 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) is thought to mimic the effects of a growth factor induced by exercise.

Scientists discover drug that increases 'good' fat mass and function

January 17, 2017
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes identified an FDA-approved drug that can create the elusive and beneficial brown fat. Mice treated with the drug had more brown fat, faster metabolisms, and lower body weight gain, even ...

Blood pressure hormone promotes obesity

July 28, 2016
New research by University of Iowa scientists helps explain how a hormone system often targeted to treat cardiovascular disease can also lower metabolism and promote obesity.

Recommended for you

How rogue immune cells cross the blood-brain barrier to cause multiple sclerosis

November 21, 2017
Drug designers working on therapeutics against multiple sclerosis should focus on blocking two distinct ways rogue immune cells attack healthy neurons, according to a new study in the journal Cell Reports.

New simple test could help cystic fibrosis patients find best treatment

November 21, 2017
Several cutting-edge treatments have become available in recent years to correct the debilitating chronic lung congestion associated with cystic fibrosis. While the new drugs are life-changing for some patients, they do not ...

Researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

November 20, 2017
Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., ...

New breast cell types discovered by multidisciplinary research team

November 20, 2017
A joint effort by breast cancer researchers and bioinformaticians has provided new insights into the molecular changes that drive breast development.

Brain cell advance brings hope for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

November 20, 2017
Scientists have developed a new system to study Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the laboratory, paving the way for research to find treatments for the fatal brain disorder.

Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments

November 17, 2017
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels.

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.