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Gene therapy with BMP4 protects against weight gain and insulin resistance in mice

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Yeah... Just seeing more advancements in the field of gene therapy. Not sure I like it and I wonder what it leads to!

"By increasing BMP4, we can increase the metabolic rate, but we only see this in initially lean mice. Overweight mice proved to have a BMP4 resistance, which is also an important finding," says Jenny Hoffmann, first author of the article and active at the Lundberg Laboratory for Diabetes Research.

She recently earned her PhD in medicine with a thesis focused on BMP4, Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4, and how it regulates white, beige and brown fat in the body. White fat cells store and release fat, brown fat cells burn fat and produce heat, and beige fat cells, which are located within the white fat, can burn fat upon activation. BMP4 has important functions during fetal development, but has proven to play an especially important role in the development of fat cells.

In one of the studies, cells from human fat biopsies were used and the other two studies used adult mice that were given BMP4 gene therapy. In the current study, the mice were given a high-fat, more energy-rich diet, at the same time that they were injected with a harmless virus that carried BMP4, which targets the liver and spreads from there.

"In mice that were initially lean, we see that the white fat becomes more beige and metabolically active, while the brown fat becomes "whiter". So there's a negative effect on the brown fat and a positive effect on the white fat, but the positive outweighs the negative and the mice have improved metabolic health. They are protected from weight gain and do not get insulin resistance, a marker for risk of Type-2 diabetes," says Jenny Hoffmann.


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