Can an antifat pill be far away? by ProQuest


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                                                                                        inform November 2009, Vol. 20 (11) 699

                                             Health & Nutrition
  Add Boma the rhinoceros and his
  rhino-sized case of dry skin to the list
  of sufferers and maladies helped by
  fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. Boma,
  who lives at Zoo Atlanta (Georgia,
  USA), had a severe case of dry and
  ulcerated skin. Having read that horses
  with similar conditions were helped by
  dietary supplementation with fish oil,
  his zookeepers felt they had nothing
  to lose. The word is that Boma very
  much likes the human-grade fish oil
  donated by a supplement maker. More
  to the point, it appears that his skin
  problem is clearing up.
  A review article in Nutrition & Metabo-
  lism (doi:10.1186/1743-7075-6-36) by
  Sailas Benjamin and Friedrich Spener
  evaluates the health benefits of con-
  jugated linoleic acids (CLA), a group
  of positional and geometric isomers
  of linoleic acid predominantly found
  in milk, milk products, meat, and meat
  products of ruminants. The authors
  look at the hundreds of studies high-
  lighting “that CLA, apart from the
  classical nuclear transcription factor-
  mediated mechanism of action, appear
  to exhibit a number of interdependent
  molecular signaling pathways account-
  ing for their reported health benefits.
  Such benefits relate to anti-obesitic,
                                              Can an antifat pill                              very beginning,” added Motonari Uesugi,
                                                                                               who is now at Kyoto University (Japan).
  anticarcinogenic, anti-atherogenic,
  antidiabetagenic, immunomodula-
                                              be far away?                                           In doing so, fatostatin influences many
                                                                                               of the genes involved in fat production
                                              A small molecule earlier found to have           and in various aspects of metabolic syn-
  tory, apoptotic, and osteosynthetic                                                          drome—a collection of risk factors includ-
                                              both antifat and anticancer effects works
  effects,” they conclude. The article                                                         ing obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin
                                              as a literal turnoff for fat-making genes,
  is available free of charge at http://                                                       resistance—simultaneously.
                                              according to results of a study in Chemistry             and Biology (16:882–892, 2009). Dubbed                 Studies in cell culture showed that
  content/6/1/36.                             “fatostatin” by its discoverers, the molecule    fatostatin significantly lowers the activity
                     nnn                      is more formally known as 125B11.                of 63 genes, including 34 directly associ-
  Another review article, this one by              The chemical blocks a well-known            ated with fatty acid or cholesterol synthe-
  Breanne M. Anderson and David               master controller of fat synthesis, the tran-    sis. Many of those were known to be under
  W.L. Ma of the University of Guelph         scription factor known as SREBP (sterol          the control of SREBP.
  in Ontario, Canada, tries to answer         regulatory element binding protein). In                More detailed analysis reveals that
  the question, “Are all omega-3 poly-        mice that are genetically prone to obesity,      fatostatin blocks SREBP by preventing
  unsaturated fatty acids created equal?”     the blocking of SREBP causes the animals         it from becoming active and entering the
  The authors attempt “to assess our          to become leaner. It also lowers the amount      nucleus, where it would otherwise switch
  current understanding of the differen-      of fat in their livers, along with their blood   on the fat-making program. It operates by
  tial effects of ALA (α-linolenic acid),     sugar and cholesterol levels.                    binding another protein (called SCAP, or
  EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA             “We are frankly very excited about it,”     [sterol regulatory element binding protein]
  (docosahexaenoic acid) on cancer,           said Salih Wakil of Baylor College of Medi-      cleavage-activating protein), which serves
                                              cine (Waco, Texas, USA), who led the study.      as SREBP’s escort into the nucleus.
  insulin resistance, and cardiovascular
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