Integrated Biomedical Science Division
Energy Metabolism

Energy Metabolism Research

Now in the world including Japan, the prevalence of obesity and metabolic disease has grown to epidemic proportions. Therefore, understanding of the molecular basis of energy metabolism and development of the effective therapeutic approaches for preventing lifestyle-related diseases are called for immediately. We are working to understand the molecular mechanisms of which the nutrient signals lead to fatty acid synthesis. In this process, we identified and characterized a novel mammalian fatty acid elongase, Elovl6, which catalyzes the elongation of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids with 12, 14, and 16 carbons (J Lipid Res. 43:911, 2002). We have also shown that mice with targeted disruption of Elovl6 are resistant to diet-induced insulin resistance, despite their developing obesity (Nat Med. 13:1193, 2007). These results suggest that inhibition of this elongase could be a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic diseases, even with concurrent obesity.

In this research, we try to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the regulation of energy metabolism, insulin sensitivity and cell function according to changes of fatty acid composition by the analysis of Elovl6 genetically engineered mice. We also try to extend our investigations to develop new therapeutic approaches for treating lifestyle-related disease based on control of fatty acid composition.

Research Division Leader

Professor Takashi Matsuzaka, Ph. D

Research Division Leader

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