Tag Archives: ACS Chemical Biology

Less sleep, more fat

The link between lack of sleep and obesity could be a protein called Nocturnin, reports Roger Highfield……click & read
Poor sleep at 30 months predicts obesity at the age of seven

Scientists have found a new clue to explain the link between lack of sleep and obesity.

Over the years, evidence has grown to show the link is real. One study of 18,000 adults found that those who got fewer than four hours of sleep were 73 per cent more likely to be obese than those who got the recommended seven to nine hours.

Over the years, evidence has grown to show the link is real. One study of 18,000 adults found that those who got fewer than four hours of sleep were 73 per cent more likely to be obese than those who got the recommended seven to nine hours.

The reason for the link is still a matter of debate but recently scientists reported the discovery of a protein, called Nocturnin, which could help provide the answer.

Mice lacking the protein that works at night to regulate daily biological rhythms keep their lean physique, even when fed a high fat diet, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Joseph Besharse, and colleagues at the Medical College of Wisconsin, working with Prof. Carla Green of the University of Virginia, genetically engineered mice lacking this protein and fed them either a standard or high fat diet.

Unlike normal mice, which became obese on the high fat diet, the Nocturnin-deficient mice stayed lean without increasing their activity or reducing food intake. These mice showed normal circadian cycles but had an altered metabolism of sugar (glucose), suggesting that Nocturnin may control a metabolic pathway specifically related to fat uptake that waxes and wanes each day.

“This paper adds an important new twist to a recent body of evidence that circadian rhythms play an important role in the control of metabolism and energy balance,” said Prof. Besharse.

With the dramatic increase in obesity in western cultures, these mice could help illuminate how disruptions in circadian clocks exacerbate the problem. And, said Prof. Besharse, could eventually lead to new treatments.

A flurry of worldwide research has established an intriguing connection between poor sleep and fat stomachs. The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children in the Nineties, after tracking 13,000 British children as they grew up, concluded that poor sleep at 30 months predicts obesity at the age of seven years.

Obesity and Type II diabetes are major health problems,  he said.  The emerging connection between circadian clocks, metabolic control and disease brings perspective to this important area of biomedical research. This linkage likely evolved in animals to enable them to adapt to diurnal (daily) changes in their environment such as food availability.
Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata , India)

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