Obesity study reports the heritability of adipose tissue composition

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A multi-institutional team of researchers led by Jan-Wilhelm Kornfeld, Elena Schmidt and Martin Bilban has made a groundbreaking discovery in obesity research.

The team discovered a new function of the gene H19. This gene proves to have a unique protective effect against the development of overweight and consequently could affect the onset of overweight-associated disease such as diabetes, overweight and cardiovascular diseases.

H19 is among the genes inherited exclusively from either the mother or father, the so-called monoallelic genes. As a result of extensive studies, the researchers have also discovered how genes derived primarily from the father lead to the development of white , which is most often found on the stomach, thighs and backside, and which can lead to metabolic diseases.

Likewise, it appears that genes from the mother primarily lead to the development of brown fat tissue, which is characterized by a against .

According to the researchers, the results could constitute a first step toward the development of better treatments of obesity.

"By using mouse models, we have identified that the gene H19 performs a form of in . We have been able to demonstrate that an overexpression of the H19 gene in mice protects against obesity and insulin resistance. In addition, we have been able to detect similar patterns of gene control in obese people. We therefore believe that our results can be the first step toward developing groundbreaking new and improved treatments for obesity-related diseases," says Professor Jan-Wilhelm Kornfeld.

The team has published the research results in the journal Nature Communications.

Explore further

Gene therapy with BMP4 protects against weight gain and insulin resistance in mice

More information: Elena Schmidt et al. LincRNA H19 protects from dietary obesity by constraining expression of monoallelic genes in brown fat, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05933-8
Journal information: Nature Communications

Citation: Obesity study reports the heritability of adipose tissue composition (2018, September 7) retrieved 28 January 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-09-obesity-heritability-adipose-tissue-composition.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments