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Curb your fatty acids

A University of California, San Francisco team has uncovered a pathway for regulating absorption of fatty acids that could yield new targets for treating obesity. MFGE8, an integrin ligand, controls the uptake of fat in the gut and other tissues by co-opting a phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling module better known for its involvement in insulin action.1 The team is working on inhibitors of the ligand or its receptors for use in obesity.

The findings provide a new way to stop fatty acids from getting into cells-a strategy for fighting obesity that has proved relatively intractable to date.

Roche's Xenical orlistat inhibits the lipase enzyme that releases fatty acids from dietary fats and thus decreases their absorption in the gut. However, although the compound has been marketed for obesityin the U.S. since 2007,

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