Fat Enzyme May Affect Energy Metabolism

Richard Lehner

Richard Lehner

New findings published by University of Alberta researchers in a recent issue of Cell Metabolism may point to a new pharmacological target for reducing fat and blood sugar levels in blood while also positively affecting energy expenditure (at least in mice).

The research team, led by Richard Lehner (picture), showed that genetically knocking out an enzyme called TGH (triacylglycerol hydrolase), which is normally involved in helping the liver (and other tissues) process fat, not only reduces blood fat levels but also improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.

Interestingly, the animals were also better able to utilize glucose and, despite consuming significantly more energy, they displayed increased locomotor activity and consequently did not gain weight.

As always, such studies in mice must be taken with a grain of salt in that there is usually a long way to go before (if at all) these findings pan out in new treatments for humans.

On the other hand, these studies do demonstrate the potential of TGH as a therapeutic target for lowering blood lipid levels and possibly body weight through a novel pathway.

Munich, Germany