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Removal of fat gene may slow down aging

By Tim Sandle     Apr 2, 2014 in Science
A single gene appears to play a key role in coordinating the immune system and metabolism. Research suggests that deleting the gene in mice reduces body fat and extends lifespan.
The gene in question has been dubbed FAT10, according to Medical Daily. A new study indicates that mice lacking FAT10 consume more food, but burn fat at an accelerated rate. As a result, they have less than half of the fat tissue found in normal, aged mice.
At the same time the skeletal muscle of the mice increases production of an immune molecule that increases their response to insulin, resulting in reduced circulating insulin levels. This gives the mice protection against type 2 diabetes and, as a result, a longer lifespan.
In humans, there is a link between the FAT10 gene and increased risk of gynecological and gastrointestinal cancers. For this reason, the research may prove to be even more important.
It should be noted that studies in laboratory mice do not necessarily translate to similar success in people. Further studies will need to be conducted in animals under different conditions.
The study was carried out at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Yale University School of Medicine. The research has been reported to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in a paper titled “Extended lifespan and reduced adiposity in mice lacking the FAT10 gene.”
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