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Científicos localizan genes de la obesidad infantil

DOMINGO, 8 de abril (HealthDay News) -- Por primera vez, los científicos han aislado mutaciones en dos localizaciones genéticas que parecen predisponer a los niños a volverse obesos.

"Observamos una clara firma genética en la obesidad infantil, que muestra que hay algo más en esta enfermedad que solo un componente ambiental", aseguró el 5 de abril en una conferencia de prensa Stuart Grant, autor principal de la investigación.

Aunque se han relacionado genes con la obesidad adulta y también con formas extremas de obesidad infantil, los genes recién identificados solo confieren un riesgo modesto de desarrollar obesidad infantil común. Pero son "muy comunes en la población", añadió Grant en una entrevista telefónica.

Grant es director asociado del Centro de Genómica Aplicada del Instituto de Investigación del Hospital Pediátrico de Filadelfia. Su investigación aparece en la edición en línea del 8 de abril de la revista Nature Genetics.

La obesidad se ha convertido en una crisis de salud pública de proporciones globales, que afecta no solo a los adultos, sino a cada vez más niños.

"En EE. UU., la prevalencia de obesidad infantil se ha triplicado en las últimas décadas, y los costos relacionados de atención de salud se han cuadruplicado", señaló la Dra. Karen Winer, funcionaria de programa de la rama de endocrinología, nutrición y crecimiento del Instituto Nacional de Salud Infantil y Desarrollo Humano Eunice Kennedy Shriver de EE. UU., que financió el estudio.

Factores ambientales obvios como el cambio en la nutrición y una menor cantidad de ejercicio físico han tenido que ver con la crisis de obesidad infantil, pero hasta ahora no se había identificado ningún gen.

Los autores de este estudio reunieron los resultados de 14 estudios de asociación de todo el genoma llevados a cabo en EE. UU., Canadá, Australia y Europa, con un total de 5,530 niños que eran obesos y 8,318 niños que no lo eran (los "controles"), todos de ascendencia europea.

Se trata de la mayor colección de ADN relacionado con la obesidad infantil de todo el mundo, afirmó Winer.

La obesidad se definió como estar por encima del percentil 95 del índice de masa corporal (una medida que toma en cuenta la estatura y el peso), mientras que todos los controles sanos estaban en la mitad más delgada de la población.

Cuando se combinó los datos, destacaron dos genes: el OLFM4 y el HOXB5. Los genes también mostraron señales en grupos de niños extremadamente obesos.

Y los genes fueron identificables pero más débiles en los adultos, lo que indica que "estas variantes confieren el riesgo a principios de la vida y realmente impactan en los primeros años", apuntó Grant en la conferencia de prensa.

La literatura científica hasta la fecha indica que los genes podrían operar en los intestinos.

"Probablemente buscaríamos en esa área de tejido para ver en qué forma se confiere el riesgo", planteó Grant en la conferencia de prensa.

Por ejemplo, es posible que los genes interactúen con la comida, dijo.

Eric Schadt, presidente de ciencias genéticas y genómicas de la Escuela de Medicina Mount Sinai en la ciudad de Nueva York, dijo que "absolutamente, esta es una enfermedad que tiene componentes genéticos y componentes ambientales muy potentes, y probablemente unos componentes simultáneamente genéticos y ambientales muy potentes. Es algo extremadamente complejo. Apenas arañamos la superficie de las determinaciones genéticas de la obesidad infantil".

Una vez los científicos averigüen más sobre los genes y cómo funcionan, esto podría llevar a nuevos tratamientos, añadió Schadt, quien no participó en el estudio.


Artículo por HealthDay, traducido por Hispanicare
FUENTES: Eric Schadt, Ph.D., professor and chairman, department of genetics and genomic sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; April 5, 2012, press conference with Struan F.A. Grant, Ph.D., associate director, Center for Applied Genomics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute and Karen Winer, M.D., program officer, endocrinology, nutrition and growth branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; April 8, 2012, Nature Genetics, online

HealthDay
(c) Derechos de autor 2012, HealthDay

Fuente: HealthDay

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