The chemical blocks a well-known master controller of fat synthesis, the transcription factor known as SREBP (sterol regulatory element binding protein). In doing so, fatostatin influences many of the genes involved in fat production and in various aspects of metabolic syndrome - a collection of risk factors including obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance - simultaneously.
Briefs 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. nnn 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 www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/ 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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