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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The monster mice helping man in the fight against obesity

By Chris Slack

Creating a monster: The obese mouse, right, weighs 52g while the normal mouse, left, weighs just 20g. The pair are being used by scientists in attempts to create an anti-obesity pill

Being placed into a machine for another experiment, these mice are playing a big part in the continuing fight against obesity.

A team from the the Integrated Research and Treatment Centre for Adipositas at Leipzig University are using the animals to test a number of developments they hope will lead to an obesity pill.

The team, of whom Eva Boege, pictured below, is a member are analysing tissue samples of both obese people and animals.

Little and large: The pair in a laboratory at the tissue bank of the Integrated Research and Treatment Center for Adipositas at Leipzig University in Germany

They are 800 samples currently stored there, with an expansion in the pipeline.

Scientists at the university are looking at ways that hunger and satisfy appetite can lead to university.

They are focusing on parts of the brain that are involved in the regulation of hunger in the hope of developing a treatment.

Their project also hopes to replicate a number of hormones which could lead to the development of a treatment strategy for humans.

Scientists have long hope to create the elusive 'obesity pill.'

A previous study, published last year found that overeating mice don't gain weight when a specific protein is removed from the food.

Research: Animal keeper Eva Boege places the mice into a metabolic chamber at the Integrated Research and Treatment Centre at Leipzig University as researchers attempts to develop an obesity pill without side effects

Breakthrough: The studies being undertaken at Leipzig University could lead to a treatment to combat obesity

The protein known as klotho, which regulates the body's sensitivity of insulin, could turn obese ice into slim mice when regulated.

Dr. Shawkat Razzaque, a researcher at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and one of the study’s authors told the Toronto Star at the time : 'We’re suggesting that if we can find a way to target klotho in humans, we may be able to reduce obesity.

But if we want to have a magic pill that targets klotho, we have to figure out how to be selective in terms of taking away only its harmful effects and not preventing it from performing its essential functions.'



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