November 5, 2018 6:10 pm

Western University researchers identify protein believed to regulate fat accumulation

In this Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, file photo, an overweight man rests on a bench in Jackson, Miss.

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File

A new study out of Western University has identified a specific protein called Pannexin 1 (Panx1) as a new player when it comes to research into obesity.

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The study saw researchers remove that specific protein from the stem cells of mice, which were then fed either normal diets or high-fat diets.

All of the mice without Panx1 had significantly greater total fat mass than other mice.

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“It doesn’t matter if they’re in a high-fat diet or a normal diet, they do have a lot more fat mass on their MRI, so we were interested in seeing why this is happening, and we see that this gene or this protein Pannexin 1 regulates the amount of fat that the cells can have,” lead author Dr. Silvia Penuela told 980 CFPL.

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The study also found that the absence of Panx1 increased the likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes.

“Our next step is to see if this correlates in humans, in a way that we can see maybe a person that has lower levels of Pannexin 1 or have a gene mutation or have something [that] has happened to this protein in their system, are more prone to fat accumulation, so we are starting that correlation with human patients that suffer from obesity,” she said.

The study is published in Scientific Reports.

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