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Obesity Gene Linked to Energy Expenditure

Mice lacking Fto gene are leaner despite eating more and moving less

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Mice lacking the Fto gene, where common human variants have been linked to obesity, are leaner due to increased energy expenditure despite the fact that they eat more and move less, according to research published online Feb. 22 in Nature.

To examine the function of the Fto gene, Julia Fischer, from Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany, and colleagues generated mice lacking the gene and characterized them with respect to energy and glucose homeostasis.

The investigators found that the mice had defects in postnatal growth and significantly less adipose tissue and lean body mass. The leanness of the mice was due to increased energy expenditure and systemic sympathetic activation, despite the fact that they ate excessively and moved less, the researchers report.

"Taken together, these experiments provide, to our knowledge, the first direct demonstration that Fto is functionally involved in energy homeostasis by the control of energy expenditure," Fischer and colleagues conclude.

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