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Gut immune system linked to body weight

By Tim Sandle     Dec 10, 2014 in Science
A team of scientists have identified a mechanism that affects the development of obesity and diabetes type 2 in relation to a diet rich in fats. The discovery shows the role of the intestinal immune system in controlling metabolism.
The research shows that, due to fat nutrition, the inactivation of a part of the intestine immune system (a protein called MyD88) theoretically would allow people to lose weight and also to reduce the diabetes type 2 (which is linked to the obesity.) Whether or not this protein is deactivated appears to depend upon the composition of the body’s gut bacteria.
The findings indicate that response of the immune system, through the disabling of protein MyD88, leads to a slowing down of the development of diabetes induced by a diet rich in fats. Furthermore, when the protein is not active this slows down the development of adipose tissue and reduces the harmful inflammation that occurs in conjunction with obesity.
This happens because the immune system in the gut plays an important role in the way that fat is stored.
The implications of the research are that there is potentially a need for new therapeutic target for treatment of obesity and diabetes type 2. This therapy would be a cocktail of beneficial bacteria. It should be noted, however, that the research was performed on animal models and it is unknown if the same effects would be achieved with people.
The research was undertaken at the Louvain Drug Research Institute and the findings have been reported to the journal Nature Communications. The paper is titled “Intestinal epithelial MyD88 is a sensor switching host metabolism towards obesity according to nutritional status.”
In related news, a study by Canadian scientists has linked obesity to a reduced life expectancy. It seems that the more an individual weighs and the younger their age, then the greater the effect that obesity has on their health
More about Immunity, Guts, Obesity, Weight, Fat
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