Anti obesity gene variant discovered – future target for treatment of obesity?

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In a study published today, researchers at the Wellcome Trust-MRC institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge appear to have identified a series of MC4R gene variants that modulate the signals in the brain that determine when the person ‘feels full’. These findings solidify the idea that some people are simply ‘naturally skinny’.

The study covered approximately 0.5 million people in the UK biobank, and looked at genetic associations to weight, type 2 diabetes, and obesity in the subjects.

Approximately 6 percent of the population carried a gene variant that lead to preferential increasing of β-arrestin recruitment rather than cAMP production. These individuals had a 50% lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and coronary artery disease.

The research may lead to drugs or genetic therapies that change β-arrestin-mediated MC4R signaling, which may be a much safer target than the amphetamine-like drugs and gastric sleeve procedures.

You can read Cambridge’s press release here for more information: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/discovery-of-genetic-variants-that-protect-against-obesity-and-type-2-diabetes-could-lead-to-new

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