Scientists Find Molecular “Switch” that Can Control Inflammation Caused by Overeating
A group of researchers have identified a molecule in the body that acts as a “switch” to regulate the body’s inflammatory response to overeating.
Overeating results in obesity, which is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. When a person overeats, the body stores excess calories as adipose tissue or fat, and as these build up, it results in inflammation in the adipose tissue and the release of unhealthy fatty acids and inflammatory products into other tissues.
While this link between overeating, obesity, and inflammation has been long established, scientists did not know much about the precise way the immune cells play a role in this. The team of researchers found that an enzyme called OGT was responsible for activating an inflammatory reaction in response to overeating and excess body fats. The authors found that when one overeats, OGT activates the immune cells to cause inflammatory changes, and when one eats less, OGT inhibits the immune cells.
The scientists hope that this study may lead to new therapies targeting OGT to suppress inflammation and improve health.