The long-term consumption of too much high-energy and high-fat food leads to overweight. Behind this trivial statement lies the extremely complex regulation of lipid metabolism. Together with colleagues from Japan, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim have now discovered that the Sirt7 gene plays a central role in energy metabolism. Despite consuming high-fat food, genetically modified mice that lack the gene maintain their normal weight.
Food was not always available to such excess as it is in western societies today. On the contrary, our metabolism was tailored to the optimum exploitation of energy, as humans, for millennia, had to budget their calories carefully. Thus, the formation and depletion of fat depots as energy stores is subject to complex regulation. A series of regulators is involved in lipid metabolism in the liver for the purpose of storing excess energy and making it available again when required.
The researchers hope that their study will provide the basis for new therapeutic approaches. “We would now like to examine substances with which the function of Sirt7 can be deliberately inhibited. We want to examine whether the same effects arise as observed in the mice that lack the Sirt7 gene,” explains one of the researchers. The long-term objective is the development of a drug that would reduce the efficiency of lipid metabolism. This would enable the avoidance of overweight.
Source: Medical News Today.