A striking picture shows the difference in two mice after receiving gene therapy that reduces fat in a study by scientists in South Korea

The story of two mice: Striking photo shows how much slimmer you are after a groundbreaking fat-burning treatment

  • Scientists have silenced a specific gene that plays a role in fat storage
  • An obese mouse lost 20% of its weight and reversed obesity-related diseases
  • It seems to work better than diet pills sold in the UK and the US
  • But it won't be available for long because more research is needed

A striking picture shows the difference between two mice after one received a groundbreaking fat-burning treatment.

Scientists discovered that mice that were bred to lose fat lost 20 percent of their body weight after receiving therapy.

The risk of obesity-related diseases in the treated mice also decreased because scientists were able to reduce factors such as insulin resistance.

The treatment works by silencing a specific gene that plays a crucial role in the development of human fat.


Although this therapy has shown promising results in mice, further research is needed before it can be used in humans.

A striking picture shows the difference in two mice after receiving gene therapy that reduces fat in a study by scientists in South Korea

A striking picture shows the difference in two mice after receiving gene therapy that reduces fat in a study by scientists in South Korea

The authors wrote: & # 39; Despite the therapeutic potential, translational research from mouse model to patient in real life is still a hurdle to overcome. & # 39;

Millions of people worldwide are at risk for heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and cancer as a result of being overweight.

The only weight loss product currently available on the NHS and in the US is orlistat, which prevents fat from being absorbed into the body.

It leads to five percent weight loss in humans after five years and can have unpleasant side effects such as wind and incontinence.


To overcome this, Jee Young Chung and the Hanyang University team have investigated a treatment that causes no side effects.

The breakthrough gene therapy had already worked in tests on cells in the laboratory, causing the team to focus on mice.

The male rodents all received a high-fat diet until they were obese and had insulin resistance – the driving factor of type 2 diabetes.


The CRISPR gene processing technique is increasingly used in health research because it can change the building blocks of the body.

At a basic level, CRISPR works as a process for cutting and pasting DNA.


Called technically CRISPR-Cas9, the process involves sending new DNA strands and enzymes to organisms to process their genes.

In humans, genes act as blueprints for many processes and traits in the body – they dictate everything from the color of your eyes and hair to whether or not you have cancer.

The components of CRISPR-Cas9 – the DNA sequence and the enzymes needed to implant it – are often sent into the body via a harmless virus, so scientists can determine where they are going.

Cas9 enzymes can then cut DNA strands, effectively disable a gene, or remove portions of DNA that need to be replaced by the CRISPR's. These are new parts that are submitted to change the gene and the effect of which is preprogrammed to produce.

But the process is controversial because it can be used to change babies & # 39; s in the womb – initially to treat diseases – but can lead to an increase in & # 39; designer baby & # 39; s & # 39; because doctors offer ways to change the DNA of embryos.


Source: Broad institute

Mice that received gene therapy for six weeks lost an average of 20 percent body fat and had lower levels of inflammation and insulin resistance.

The experts, whose work was published in the journal Genome Research, focused on adipocytes – cells that are essentially & # 39; fat & # 39; to become.

The body only uses the amount of energy from food that it needs to function. Excess is stored in the fatty tissue that is under the skin.

Adipocytes have an enormous amount of storage capacity and house lipids, which are fatty substances from the foods in our diet.


The researchers used advanced technology called CRISPR, a tool for editing genes that works as a & # 39; molecular scissors & # 39 ;.

This allows scientists to go into the DNA of an organism and change, edit or remove parts. The device reduced the expression of the Fabp4 gene in the mice.

This prevented their adipocytes from storing lipids without affecting the functioning of the surrounding cells.

The mice had a lower risk of chronic liver disease because there was a decrease in fat deposits in the liver, the scientists said.

They also had lower circulating triglycerides, the lipid that primarily makes fat cells.

According to the team, this would reduce their risk of serious complications caused by high triglycerides, such as heart disease, stroke, and acute pancreatitis.

An advantage of gene therapy in the treatment of various diseases is the ability to target organs or tissues without affecting others.

Until now, however, the approach has been hampered by the inability to tackle only fat tissue.

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