Disrupting body fat’s inbuilt clock may lead to weight gain
Jules Griffin's group, who are based in the MRC Human Nutrition Research unit in Cambridge as well as the Department of Biochemistry, have recently published a paper in Nature Medicine "Obesity in mice with adipocyte-specific deletion of clock component Arntl" with their collaborators in Pennsylvania. Disrupting body fat's innate clock may lead to weight gain by influencing eating patterns and the rate at which cells store fat. The researchers found that switching off the ‘clock’ gene (Arntl) in the fat cells of mice caused them to eat more food when they would normally be asleep, which led to them gaining more weight than normal mice, even when they did not consume more calories. The modified mice also showed changes in the production of hunger-signalling hormones and fat levels in the blood. The findings may help to explain why shift-workers, whose day-night cycle is disrupted, are more likely to be obese.