Obesity and genes

Adipose-tissue contains the largest store of energy in the body and has important roles in regulating energy partitioning. Adipose tissue is also seen as an active biological tissue rather than a mass of fat.
Developments in genomics, in particular microarray-based expression profiling have: provided scientists with a number of new candidate genes whose expression in adipose tissue is regulated by obesity- Integrating expression profiles with genome-wide linkage and/or association analyses is a promising strategy to identify new genes underlying susceptibility to obesity.
An article by Dahlman and Arner gives a comprehensive review of adipose-tissue expressed genes possibly involved in predisposition to human obesity
The following genes are of potential note.
peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma
INSIG2 acting in adipogenesis;
the adrenoreceptors beta 2 and 3,
hormone-sensitive lipase acting on lipolysis:
uncoupling protein a acting in mitochondria energy expenditure ;
and among secreted molecules the cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha and the hormone leptin.
Whilst this is in part inspired speculation, the concept of predisposition is an interesting thought. But obesity is the result of an imbalance between food intake and energy expenditure resulting in the storage of energy as fat. No food, no obesity. Or is that the case?
Dahlman and Arner 2007, Obesity and polymorphisms in genes regulating human adipose tissue. International Journal of Obesity vol 31, 1629-1641

Martin Eastwood
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