ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say their discovery of a genetic mechanism that controls the body's fat-building process could lead to new obesity and diabetes treatments.
University of Central Florida researchers, led by Pappachan Kolattukudy, dean of the university's Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, found a gene called MCPIP controls the development of fat cells. Until now, the scientists said a different protein has been universally accepted as the master controller of fat cell formation.
"Our research has shown that MCPIP is a regulator of fat cell formation and blood vessel formation that feeds the growing fat tissue," Kolattukudy said. "Therefore, a drug that can shut down its function can prevent obesity and the major inflammatory diseases resulting from obesity, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases."
The findings are to be reported in the October issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. An advance version is now available online on the journal's Web site.