Recent studies on the obesity epidemic is switching their focus from only looking at dietary and lifestyle habits, toward more in-depth factors. Gene expressions and the DNA of the human body has become an important topic among many studies.
Studies have previously found that some people may be predisposed to a higher risk of obesity because of their unique genetic makeup. It has also been shown that you are more likely to be obese if one or both of your parents have too much excess weight.
In the near future, we are most certainly going to see an increase in the number of studies that consider the role of genes on obesity and body composition in general.
Just a few days ago, a team of scientists at the University of Cambridge made a new discovery. There have been studies in the past that linked the SRC-1 gene variants to obesity. These scientists decided to take things a step further. They wanted to see how exactly these gene variants played a role in the development of obesity.
The study was published in the Nature Communications Journal on the 12 of April, 2019. This marked the very first study to provide evidence of a link between the hypothalamus and the SRC-1 gene variants. SRC-1 is technically a protein. It is also known as the steroid receptor coactivator-1, but often referred to as SRC-1 for short.
The scientists behind this study found that the absence of this particular gene variant caused a group of mice to eat more than the control group, where the SRC-1 gene variants were present. Furthermore, they also found that the group without the SRC-1 gene variants gained excess weight faster than the control group.
Further research led to the discovery that SRC-1 genes seem to play a role in Pomc neurons. These neurons are present in the hypothalamus and they are particularly important for the regulation of appetite.
The conclusion made by the researchers in this study would be that the SRC-1 gene actives Pomc neurons. In turn, this assists in the regulation of appetite. Furthermore, the SRC-1 gene may also have a role to play in how fat is metabolized and stored in the body.
When obese children were analysed, it was found that SRC-1 genetic mutations were present in some of them. This yielded further evidence of how these genes play a role in the body.
While the gene cannot be currently targeted as part of a treatment measure to assist in reducing excess fat in the body, further studies will be able to use the information that has now been published. Epigenetic research is currently under way and scientists are looking at how specific genes can be affected through diet, exercise, and other protocols, in order to benefit the body.