A new study has revealed that a protein, Thy1, in the human body makes people gain weight, thus making Thy1 a possible therapeutic target. The University of Rochester researchers found that Thy1 has a fundamental role in controlling whether a primitive cell decides to become a fat cell.
Mice studies and study of human cell lines has confirmed that a loss of Thy1 function promotes more fat cells and mice lacking the Thy1 protein and fed a high-fat diet gained more weight and faster, compared to normal mice in a control group that also ate the same high-fat diet. Also, the fatter mice without Thy1 had greater than twice the levels of resistin in their blood, a biomarker for severe obesity and insulin-resistance or diabetes.
The scientists are further investigating the role of Thy1 protein. The study is published in the FASEB Journal.