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Signalling Molecule Hif1 Prevents Fat Combustion, According To New Study

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Signalling Molecule Hif1 Prevents Fat Combustion, According To New Study

Scientists from ETH Zurich have discovered a new action mechanism of a rather well-known molecule called Hif1. In simple words, it was found that Hif1 prevents fat burning, mechanism that may pay a major role in the pathogenic chain of obesity.

A group of researchers led by Willy Krek, Cell Biology expert at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich demonstrated that the molecule called Hif1, has an intense activity in white adipocytes of the abdominal fat in laboratory mice. This particular molecule makes sure that the fat tissue is not dissolved even when a low in calories and fat diet is adopted.

The good news is that scientists also discovered that this process can be reversible. When Willy Kerk and his team suppressed the activity of Hif1 molecule, the switched off metabolic route regained its normal activity, melting the fat deposits and burning excess fatty acids.

Abdominal Obesity

Abdominal Obesity

Hif1 molecule is a compound that is generally present when tissues increase their size very quickly and lack oxygen as a result. This particular mechanism is generally true for cancerous tissue and abdominal fat tissue. Basically Hif1 acts on the cellular metabolism reprogramming it, determining cells to lower their oxygen consumption by lowering production of energy molecules known as ATP in the mitochondria. Therefore cells have to switch to other energy sources to survive and obtain their energy from burning glucose – glycolysis ( the process can be maintained even in the absence of oxygen – anaerobic glycolysis). In other words the Hif1 molecule helps cells gain their needed energy even they lack the needed oxygen supply.

ETH Zürich researchers in the first phase studied the link between the Hif1 molecule and abdominal fat on a laboratory mouse mode. The mice were given a rich in fatty acids diet and their body mass index increased rapidly. Researchers then discovered that a high concentration of Hif1 was present in the abdominal fat tissue. This finding suggested that the fatty tissue had a poor blood supply and adipocytes were lacking oxygen.

The clear effect of the molecule was observed only when researchers switched off Hif1. The abdominal fat in mice stopped the growing process even after the mice continued their fat-rich nutrition plan. The overall weight of the animals remained unchanged. After scientists switched to a normal fat diet plan, the animal loosed weight.

In the end, scientists also discovered the way in which the Hif1 molecule opposes burning fat. Hif 1 acts by diminishing the production of a certain enzime called Sirt2, which also plays a major role in the fat burining process. So, by turning off the Hif1 molecule in mice models, the production of Sirt2 enzyme is reduced,  and the fat burning process is enhanced.

This particular correlation between abdominal obesity, Hif1 molecule and Sir2 activity was also observed in obese human models.