Researchers at the Florida International University Institute of Biomolecular Sciences (FIU) discovered in a study with mice that the protein INPP4B protects the obese from fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes and prostate neoplasia.
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In a statement published this Friday, the FIU reported the results of this research on the protein inositol polyphosphate-4-phosphatase type II B (INPP4B), which have already been published in the journal Nature Communications Biology,
The study aimed to determine if the protein was the key to stopping prostate cancer, but the researchers found that it was responsible for protecting against several obesity-associated diseases, according to the university.
Manqi Zhang, who led the research as a PhD student in Biochemistry at FIU, said that “Everything about this study” surprised him, as it “quickly changed direction” and “a lot of progress” was quickly made.
The researcher noted that the mutant mice that did not have INPP4B were fatter on a regular diet, prompting researcher Irina Agoulnik, from the FIU Institute of Biomolecular Sciences, to wonder what would happen if the mice were fed a high-fat diet.
Zhang determined that on a high-fat diet, the mutant mice gained significantly more weight than normal and developed fatty livers, type 2 diabetes, and prostate cancer.
The FIU warned that more research is needed to determine whether a treatment with INPP4B could be helpful to people, but he highlighted the importance of advances in that field in light of the fact that, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42.4% of adults in the US they are obese.
The problem is especially serious for non-Hispanic black adults, followed by Hispanic adults and non-Hispanic white adults.
“We can control our diet, we can go out and exercise, but there are certain factors that we cannot control, such as ethnicity, our age and our genes,” said the researcher.
“So I think it’s important to study this so that we can find ways to control these diseases. in the future, “Zhang stressed.
Agoulnik, for his part, is pursuing other avenues of research related to INPP4B and breast cancer.