Troubled biological clock makes you fat

Obesity due to impairment of the biological clock

Malfunctions in the biological clock lead to obesity and obesity. This is the conclusion reached by the researchers led by Georgios Paschos and Garret FitzGerald from the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In experiments with mice, the scientists have shown that switching off the so-called ARNTL gene in the fat cells of the animals, which forms "a core of the molecular clock component" of hunger, leads to a shift in the daily rhythm of food intake and obesity.

If the ARNTL ("Aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like) gene was eliminated in the fat cells of the mice, according to the scientists, there was a significant increase in body weight, although the animals did not consume more calories than before. Only the timing of food intake has changed due to the influence of the biological clock in the fat cells. This suggests that the daily meal times have a significant influence on the development of overweight regardless of the calorie intake.

Genes in the fat cells influence the biological clock Hunger essentially arises from the increased release of so-called neuropeptides in the hypothalamus, the control center in the brain for the autonomic nervous system. This is also where the information from the adipocytes (fat cells) is processed, which stores excess energy in the form of triglycerides and reports the level of stored energy to the brain, write the US researchers in the journal "Nature Medicine".

When to eat Cause of overweight? According to the US researchers, the current study provides two key findings. On the one hand, it can be said that “a relatively small change in meal times can favor the storage of additional energy,” emphasized Georgios Paschos. Because the "mice became overweight, even though they no longer consumed calories." Only the time of eating had shifted. For example, this is comparable to people who tend to eat at night and thereby gain weight significantly, although they tend to eat little during the rest of the day. The findings of the US researchers make it clear at this point that in order to avoid being overweight, the daily course of food intake must be taken into account.

Biological clock in the fat cells influences the biological clock in the brain The second important result of the US researchers is that the biological clock of the adipocytes has a significant influence on the "time organization of the regulation in the energy field". So far, it has been assumed that the biological clock in external tissues, such as fat cells, is based on the biological clock in the brain. The peripheral clocks basically follow the conductor in the brain. "We have known for a long time that the peripheral clocks can work independently of the master clock, after all, a drummer can also drum without instructions from the conductor," explained Garret FitzGerald and added: "But here we see that a different rhythm of the slave clocks even the Master clock. ”It should also be borne in mind that impairments of the internal clock, for example through shift work during the night, can lead to permanent metabolic disorders or metabolic diseases such as diabetes. (fp)

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