Mice burn off fat after scientists delete a gene

Deleting the IKKE gene from mice allowed the animals to eat a diet rich in lard without gaining weight. And the researchers say the same approach has the potential to control weight in humans.

"We've studied other genes associated with obesity--we call them 'obesogenes'--but this is the first one we've found that, when deleted, stops the animal from gaining weight," senior study author Alan Saltiel, the Mary Sue Coleman Director of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, said in a university news release.

Eliminating the IKKE gene apparently works by speeding the metabolism of mice, spurring them to burn more calories. "The knockout mice are not exercising any more than the control mice used in the study. They're just burning more energy," Saltiel said. "And in the process, they're generating a little heat, as well--their body temperature actually increases a bit."

- read the story from HealthDay News