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Fat-synthesizing Enzyme Found to Affect the Health of Skin and Hair

Posted: February 18, 2009

Showcasing that the health of the skin and body are truly intertwined, a recent study of a fat-synthesizing enzyme provides information on how the body processes and reacts to retinoic acid.

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) have found that an enzyme associated with the synthesis of fat in the body is also an element in healthy skin and hair.

The enzyme is acyl CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 or DGAT1. Mice that lack DGAT1 have many interesting characteristics. For example, they are lean, resistant to diet-induced obesity, are more sensitive to insulin and leptin, and have abnormalities in mammary gland development and skin.

When Gladstone researchers in the laboratory of Robert V. Farese, Jr. used genetic engineering to delete the enzyme in mice, they found that lack of DGAT1 caused levels of retinoic acid (RA) to be greatly increased in skin and resulted in the loss of hair. Their findings were reported in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"For some time, we have been studying the enzymes that make triglycerides," said Robert V. Farese, Jr., senior investigator and senior author on the study. "We found that one of these enzymes is a major regulator of retinoic acid actions in the skin."