Fat fish put obesity on the hook

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Research published in the FASEB Journal should facilitate new obesity treatments

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Everyone knows that eating lean fish helps slim waistlines, but researchers from the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR, have found a new way fish can help eliminate obesity. In a study to be published in the July 2007 print issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers describe the first genetic model of obesity in a fish. Having this model should greatly accelerate the development of new drugs to help people lose weight and keep it off.

According to corresponding author Roger Cone, "Being able to model human disorders like obesity in zebrafish allows scientists to understand the molecular basis of disease. This may ultimately increase the efficiency and power of the drug discovery process, thus bringing new medicines to the market faster and cheaper."

In the study, researchers caused obesity in zebrafish by introducing the same type of genetic mutation that causes severe obesity in humans. The genetic change blocks the activity of a receptor, the melanocortin-4 receptor, which is at the heart of a "device" in our brains called the "adipostat." The adipostat regulates body weight homeostatically, like the thermostat in a house, and works to keep long-term energy stores

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