Overcoming Metabolic Syndrome

Overcoming Metabolic Syndrome

Article Date: 11 Jan 2008 – 3:00 PST

Metabolic syndrome, a collection of related abnormalities like
hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, and excess cholesterol,
poses a major risk for developing heart disease and diabetes.
Individuals with a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol (familial
hyperlipidemia or FH) can be especially vulnerable to metabolic
syndrome, but researchers have now found that blocking the enzyme
stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1), which helps synthesize unsaturated
fatty acids, greatly improves the profile of FH-mice affected by
metabolic syndrome.

Previous mouse studies on SCD1 found that blocking this enzyme
could reduce obesity in normal mice; Michael Hayden and colleagues
wondered whether such a protective effect would extend to mice with
excess cholesterol levels.

They mimicked FH in mice by knocking out the LDL receptor,
causing a cholesterol buildup. When fed a high-fat Western diet, these
mice develop obesity and diabetes in adulthood. However, when the
researchers also knocked out SCD1, the mice improved dramatically,
accumulating far less fat in their liver, which in turn led to fewer
triglycerides in the blood, increased insulin sensitivity, and less
weight gain. These results highlight that SCD1 might be a potential
drug target for FH individuals who have developed other components of
metabolic syndrome

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.

Journal of Lipid Research

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Michael Hayden, University of British Columbia and Child & Family Research Institute, Vancouver

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is
a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with over 11,900
members in the United States and internationally. Most members teach
and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct
research in various government laboratories, nonprofit research
institutions and industry. The Society’s student members attend
undergraduate or graduate institutions.

Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland,
on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental
Biology. The Society’s purpose is to advance the science of
biochemistry and molecular biology through publication of the Journal
of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Lipid Research, and Molecular
and Cellular Proteomics, organization of scientific meetings, advocacy
for funding of basic research and education, support of science
education at all levels, and promoting the diversity of individuals
entering the scientific work force.

For more information about ASBMB, see the Society’s Web site at http://www.asbmb.org/.

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