New findings in Taiwan may lead to 'cure' for diet-induced obesity - Focus Taiwan

New findings in Taiwan may lead to 'cure' for diet-induced obesity

Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) Scientists at Taiwan's top research institute said recently they are optimistic about a study they are conducting, which may one day lead to a "cure" for diet-induced obesity, a serious health and social issue in many parts of the world.

Juan Li-jung (阮麗蓉), the leading bioscientist on the Academia Sinica team, said earlier this week that their experiments on mice showed that the removal of a specific gene could contribute to better metabolic function.

The team found that the level of the gene called N-α-acetyltransferase 10 protein (Naa10p)positively correlates with obesity in mice, Juan said.

If the findings could be applied to humans, it would mean a "cure" for diet-induced obesity, she said.

Juan said her research found that Naa10p represses the formation of beige adipocytes, a type of cell that burns calories and produces heat.

If the gene is inhibited, therefore, more beige adipocytes would develop, which in turn would help deplete unwanted calories absorbed from food, she said.

While the advantages of harnessing beige adipocyte tissue in the treatment of diet-induced obesity has been known for a while, Juan's findings represent a breakthrough in understanding how the cells develop.

A paper on her team's research was published online in the journal Molecular Cell on Aug. 12.

Diet-induced obesity greatly increases the risk of many life-threatening diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and strokes.

According Ministry of Health and Welfare 2017 statistics, 42.3 percent of people aged 18 and over in Taiwan are either overweight or obese.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)


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