CSIR-CCMB scientists’ findings give vital clues to contain obesity

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In a significant breakthrough, a group of scientists from Center for Scientific and Industrial Research- Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) have found vital clues to contain obesity.

As part of the research to find out how food is converted into energy and fat, M. Suvarsha Rao, a research scholar, from CCMB guided by Dr Mohan Rao, former director of CCMB and Dr Thangirala Ramakrishna, carried out an initial study and identified a protein called ‘Clusterin’ responsible for depositing fat in the body. In fact this protein is also regarded as a protecting agent for other proteins in the body.

According to Dr Mohan Rao, the Clustrin protein is having two strands of atomic chains alpha and beta clubbed together. By cloning method they separated the protein into alpha and beta chains and developed antibodies to inject these separated alpha and beta proteins into two Rabbits to find out their functioning.

Upon studying both the rabbits injected with separated Clusterin alpha and beta chains for about a month, the researchers found the rabbit injected with beta chain of protein increased 40 per cent in weight, while the rabbit injected with alpha atomic chain of protein did not have any difference in its weight but could observe that except the necessary required lean fat there was no excess deposit of fat in the rabbit injected with alpha protein chain.

“It is a significant observation. Our research team has found out that the two separated atomic strands of the same protein were functioning differently when injected in two different animals. While the one was responsible for increase in the weight, the other was responsible for generating energy. We are further embarking on a detailed research so that a vital solution can be found out to contain the prevailing problem of obesity,” informed Dr Mohan Rao.

According the researchers, the main cause of obesity of increased deposit of fact in the vital body parts like liver, heart and other organs which will lead to various diseases like heart attack, blood pressure etc. “The main reason for this excess deposit is that, the food that we consume is converted into energy and if this energy is generated more than we require it will be deposited in the form of fact in the body by the Clusterin protein,” he said.

To ascertain and reaffirm the functioning of the Clustrin protein, the scientists have injected the same protein into a large number of mice. The results were found similar to that of the rabbits. “We observed that when the protein with both strands is injected into the animals it did not have any gain in weight. However when it was broken into two separate chains it has shown two differently opposite function where in one case it showed increase in weight, and in the other it had no significant change. This means Clusterin protein can be tapped to treat obese patients for this more research is needed,” said Dr Thangirala Ramakrishna.

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