The Fire of Life

Sci. STKE, 6 August 2002
Vol. 2002, Issue 144, p. tw288-TW288
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.144.tw288

The Fire of Life

Why do some people gain weight readily and others stay lean no matter what they eat? An old hypothesis attributes this to interindividual variability in diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), the heat generated in response to food ingestion. DIT is thought to be mediated by the sympathetic nervous system and stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors (βARs) on thermogenically active target tissues. Bachmann et al. (see the Perspective by Dulloo) have now tested this hypothesis by generating mice that lack the three known βARs, a genetic manipulation that should incapacitate DIT. These mutant mice become massively obese when placed on a high-fat diet. Thus, at least in rodents, DIT is indeed an important component of the body's defense against obesity.

E. S. Bachman, H. Dhillon, C.-Y. Zhang, S. Cinti, A. C. Bianco, B. K. Kobilka, B. B. Lowell, βAR signaling required for diet-induced thermogenesis and obesity resistance, Science 297, 843-845 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. G. Dulloo, A sympathetic defense against obesity, Science 297, 780-781 (2002). [Summary] [Full Text]


The Fire of Life. Sci. STKE 2002, tw288-TW288 (2002).
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