Science Market Update

MSU Biochemist Studies Obesity Paradox in Yeast

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Mar 03, 2016

Over the past year, the life science research community has endeavored to control fat in response to the obesity epidemic. We’ve seen papers about reducing fat storage capacity and even burning fat at squirrel speed. However, a recent study by the Michigan State University suggests that fat may actually be linked to longevity.

Scientists have long been baffled by the counterintuitive “obesity paradox,” which postulates that high levels of fat are associated with higher survival rates. There has been some circumstantial evidence supporting the hypothesis but so far it is by no means an accepted theory.

kuo.jpgMSU biochemist and molecular biologist Min-Hao Kuo resolved to test the hypothesis in yeast, which is an excellent model for the studies of human aging. By increasing the amounts of triacyglycerol, or fat, he and his team found that they could extend the lifespan of the yeast.

“Our team used genetic approaches to manipulate the cellular capacity of triacylglycerol reproduction and degradation,” Kuo said. “Via sophisticated analyses, we demonstrated that it preserves life through a mechanism that is largely independent of other lifespan regulation pathways common in yeast as well as humans.”

In addition, these fat and long-living fat yeast cells do not seem to suffer in other areas of life. For instance, they retain resistance to environmental stresses, and continue to mate and produce healthy offspring.

Dr. Kuo isn’t certain what this means for human studies, but he hopes it will at least spark a discussion.

“Our paper likely will stimulate a new wave of research that has broad and deep impacts, including potential advances in human medicine,” Kuo said.

This research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health. For more information on the grants MSU earns with its outstanding research, peruse our free Funding Statistics report, below:

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Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. pays a visit to Michigan State University each year for the East Lansing BioResearch Product Faire™, a life science event held right on the university campus. Our next East Lansing event will be held next summer, on July 27, 2016. If Michigan area events interest you, consider also attending our annual Ann Arbor BioResearch Product Faire™ be on July 28th, 2016. Biotechnology Calendar is a full service event company that has produced on-campus, life science research trade shows nationwide for the past 20 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the finest research campuses across the country. If you are a university researcher or a laboratory product vendor, consider attending one of our on-campus trade shows: here is our 2016 schedule of events.

Tags: Michigan State University, BioResearch Product Faire Event, MI, East Lansing, MSU, 2016

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