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Losing Weight without Sacrificing Tasty Foods

Peking University, Sep.7, 2013: Obesity, along with a variety of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases caused by it, has become a worldwide scientific and social issue. It is a typical “disease enters by the mouth” in modern life, whose major causes are the improved standard of living, diversified foods and overnutrition. Appropriate diet control could significantly reduce obesity, but resisting to the delicious is never easy.


PKU scientists have made a new discovery for the obese to lose weight without sacrificing tasty foods.


In a paper published online on July 23 in Diabetes, a research group led by Zhang Xiuqin, from the Institute of Molecular Medicine, made new findings on the relationship between obesity and diet-stimulated alteration of intestinal morphology.


Intestinal epithelium is the portal of nutrient absorption. The active proliferate stem cells in it are responsible for intestinal epithelium metabolism, differentiation and absorption area maintenance. Thus, many questions would arouse our attention. Do nutrients affect the intestinal function after ingestion? Will this effect related to overnutrition and obesity? Will interfering this relationship has any impact on obesity?


In this article, Mao Jiaming et al. revealed the precise absorption mechanism by employing the mouse model. They have found that excess nutrients could be absorbed by activating the GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling pathway in intestinal epithelial cells, thus stimulating the cells proliferation of the intestinal epithelium and elongating the intestinal villus. As a result, the absorption area was enlarged and more nutrients were absorbed. However, JW55, the inhibitor of β-catenin, could reduce the proliferation of intestinal epithelial cells and the absorption area of intestinal mucous membrane without affecting the mice’s diet. The above findings suggested a new potential mechanism on the prevention and cure of obesity.


Professor Zhang Xiuqin from the Institute of Molecular Medicine is the corresponding author of this article. Ph.D. students Mao Jiaming and Hu Xiaomin are the co-first authors.


Extended Link: Overnutrition stimulates intestinal epithelium proliferation through β-catenin signaling in obese mice


Written by: Wang Can

Edited by: Zhao Xiaowei

Source: PKU News (Chinese)