Molecule mutation can lead to obesity
BRISTOL scientists have discovered how obesity leads to type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
The team from Bristol University has identified how the loss or mutation of a particular molecule can lead to severe obesity and diabetes.
Funded by the British Heart Foundation, the research could lead to treatments for conditions that are linked to obesity and potentially save thousands of lives.
The molecule is critical factor in the brain's regulation of body weight, the Bristol scientists found.
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Dr Nina Balthasar, one of the study's lead authors, is a researcher in the university's School of Physiology and Pharmacology.
She said: "Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease with recent statistics showing that obese adults are three to four times more likely to develop high blood pressure.
"In order to curb the escalating incidence of obesity and obesity-related diseases, a primary prevention goal must be to understand the physiological processes underlying our vulnerability to weight gain — knowledge that is central to the development of novel, effective therapies."
Dr Shannon Amoils, research advisor at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the study, said: "With further knowledge of this complex area we hope scientists will be able to find safe and effective ways of treating obesity-related heart and circulatory disorders."
The research has been published in the journal Cell.