Discovery of gene linked to obesity by University of Palermo doctors

There is a gene that contributes to obesity, as shown by a study conducted by the Clinical Nutrition, Obesity, and Metabolic Diseases research group led by Silvio Buscemi, a professor of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Palermo and president-elect of the Italian Society of Obesity.

The research, titled “Factors associated with body weight gain and insulin-resistance: a longitudinal study,” was published in Nutrition & Diabetes, a prestigious journal of the Nature group, considered one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the international scientific community.

The study found that individuals with abnormalities in the PNPLA3 gene are more likely to develop obesity. According to Buscemi, this gene regulates mechanisms of autophagy at the liver level, through which it is possible to destroy and eliminate part of the excess fats consumed. Abnormalities in this gene are known to promote the accumulation of fat in the liver. The study suggests that individuals carrying this gene may have a higher tendency towards obesity due to difficulties in eliminating excess fats.

The research group also includes Carola Buscemi, Cristiana Randazzo, Anna Maria Barile, Simona Bo, Valentina Ponzo, Rosalia Caldarella, Alexis Elias Malavazos, Roberta Caruso, Piero Colombrita, and Martina Lombardo.

The study conducted by the doctors in Palermo also clarifies that insulin resistance is not the cause of obesity, but rather a defense mechanism that occurs in response to overeating to protect the intracellular environment. Buscemi comments that reducing insulin resistance pharmacologically without reducing overeating is not useful in treating obesity and could theoretically have harmful effects.

Ecco il gene che favorisce l’obesità, lo studio dei medici dell’Università di Palermo su una rivista internazionale

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