Researchers from the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University identified a variation in the perilipin gene that appears to render some people resistant to weight loss from calorie restriction.
A clinical study led by Dolores Corella, PhD, of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Unit, University of Valencia, in Spain, showed that obese patients who carried the variant gene did not experience significant weight changes despite a yeear-long low-calorie diet, in contrast to those who had the more common variants of the perilipin gene and lost an average of approximately 20 pounds during the study period.
The perilipin gene controls the production of perilipin, a protein that regulates the release of fat from cells. It is tempting to conlcude that patients who bear this particular variant of the peripilin gene may indicate less response to dietary interventions to treat obesity. However,
Ordovas (professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts) cautions, “First of all, it is very important to point out that both of these studies were conducted on the same general ethnic population in Spain. We do not know what we might find in other countries or ethnic groups. And secondly,” he adds, “nutritional genomics is not yet in a position to contribute significantly to treatment of obese patients. But we are finally beginning to piece together how genetics might be used in the future, perhaps to help predict who is likely to respond well to dietary weight-loss interventions.”
If not nutritional genomics, at the very least, this clinical study may provide insights and lay the foundations for possible gene therapy against obesity in patients who are not likely to respond to dietary interventions.
Source: Science Daily