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Involvement of Vitamin D Receptor In Energy Metabolism: Regulation of Uncoupling Proteins
Today, obesity is a rising epidemic that leads to serious health problems. Obesity can be defined as a medical condition in which excess fat has accumulated. To help understand this epidemic, Wong et. al researched the role of vitamin D in energy metabolism. They created vitamin D receptor-null mutant mice (VDR-null) and compared the metabolic phenotypes with those of wild type mice. On a high-fat diet, VDR-null mice had less body fat and lower plasma triglycerides and cholesterol than wild-type mice. To understand why plasma lipids were increased, Wong et. al looked at brown fat and found the expression of uncoupling proteins (UCPs) was higher in VDR-null mice. Upregulation of UCPs, which alters ATP production by separating oxidative phosphorylation from ATP production, suggests higher energy expenditure and could help explain the lower plasma lipid levels. This research shows vitamin D does play a role in energy metabolism and could be useful in creating new ways to minimize body fat. Now, we may better understand how it may be possible to increase energy expenditure, helping to reduce the prevalence and incidence of obesity.