SOURCE: The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society

November 01, 2016 09:03 ET

Can We Harness Our Genes to Burn More Calories?

Novel biomedical research uncovers tie between genetic variant and energy expenditure -- a potential biological pathway to increase calorie burn and weight loss

NEW ORLEANS, LA--(Marketwired - November 01, 2016) - Researchers say they have identified a potential pathway in our muscle tissue to improve the rate at which our bodies burn calories. The study is one of the first to explore the tie between genetics and calorie burn (or energy expenditure), a relatively new area of biological study. The findings of the study will be unveiled during a poster presentation at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek SM 2016 in New Orleans.

"Obesity research continues to show that our ability to gain or lose weight may not be completely reliant on individual behaviors, but perhaps our genetic traits," says lead author Paolo Piaggi, PhD, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. "This new study is one of the first to identify a specific genetic pathway in our muscle tissue that we may be able to harness to develop new treatments for obesity."

To reach their findings, researchers at NIDDK's Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch performed an exome-wide gene expression study in skeletal muscle biopsies from 219 healthy individual donors at rest and over 24 hours and measured long-term weight change over seven years. Among the genes associated with energy expenditure (EE), they found that the expression of the THNSL2 gene in skeletal muscle tissue had the strongest association between lower energy expenditure and weight gain. Based on their findings, it appears that an mRNA splice variant, a key player in translating a gene to a protein, impacts the production of a cytokine (SOFAT) secreted by T-cells that stimulates production of interleukin 6, suggesting that SOFAT may influence EE through the inflammatory pathways related to EE and obesity.

"The research brings us one step closer to better understanding the variation in weight gain among individuals, particularly when on similar diets," said Anthony Comuzzie, PhD, spokesperson for The Obesity Society and Scientist at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. "We know that there are ties between our genes and energy expenditure, and this study offers several potentially important extensions to that work, in particular by implicating a specific pathway for treatment."

Abstract and author contact information are available below.

Funding for this research was provided by the NIH Intramural Research Program. The content of this announcement is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views or imply endorsement of the NIH.

Find additional information and the full abstract here.

This press release can be published in full or in part with attribution to The Obesity Society.

About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information visit: Connect with us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Find information about industry relationships here.

About ObesityWeek 2016

ObesityWeek is the premier, international event focused on the basic science, clinical application, prevention and treatment of obesity. TOS and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) host the world's pre-eminent conference on obesity, ObesityWeek 2016, Oct. 31 - Nov. 4, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. For the fourth year, both organizations hold their respective annual scientific meetings under one roof to unveil exciting new research, discuss emerging treatment and prevention options, and network and present. Connect and share with ObesityWeek on Twitter and Facebook, or by using #OW2016.

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