If you tend to stuff yourself with chips and can’t stop, it’s not just because of their taste. As the New York Post explains, high-calorie foods regularly lead to overeating, which leads to obesity as well as major health problems. It turns out that overeating is actually in your genes.
Recently, researchers from Osaka Metropolitan University, Japan found that the gene called “CREB-Regulated Transcription Coactivator 1” (CRTC1) was closely related to the prevention of obesity in humans. This sets a limit that prevents you from overeating, especially when it comes to junk food.
The research team led by Professor Shigenobu Matsumura therefore decided to elucidate the mechanism by which CRTC1 prevents obesity. For this, the group focused on neurons that express the protein melanocortin-4 (MC4R), a receptor that plays a key role in maintaining energy homeostasis. According to him, the presence of CRTC1 in neurons expressing MC4R would prevent obesity. But mutations of the MC4R gene are precisely known to cause this chronic disease.
Experiment to confirm
During their experiment, the researchers created a mouse strain that included the CRTC1 gene. With one exception: it was not present in neurons expressing MC4R, with the aim of investigating the effect of CRTC1 deletion on obesity and diabetes.
The animals were then divided into two groups. The first one whose gene was removed was tested first. When fed a standard diet, the mice showed no change in body weight compared to the control group. But when faced with high-calorie foods, rodents overate. As a result, a clear weight gain and a tendency towards diabetes have been highlighted.
“Thus, this study revealed that the CRTC1 gene plays an important role in our brain by preventing us from eating too many foods rich in calories, fat and sugar.”reveals Shigenobu Matsumura.
But some people have a genetic variation or malfunction of CRTC1. As a result, its effectiveness is reduced, leading to overeating or a form of obesity.