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Two For One: Nov 15, 2011

Researchers at the Federal Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland, have killed two birds with one stone, so to speak. By knocking out the NCoR1 gene in mice, the researchers identified potential therapeutic avenues for both muscle-wasting diseases and type 2 diabetes, reports New Scientist's Andy Coghlan.

In one study, recently published in Cell, the team used a virus to knock out NCoR1 in the muscle mass of mice, Coghlan says. After the deletion, the team found that the mitochondria worked at full power, and that the mice were able to run farther and faster than their control counterparts.

In a separate study published in Cell, the team found that knocking out NCoR1 in adipocytes led the mice to gain weight without developing type 2 diabetes, Coghlan adds. The researchers hope that drugs created to knock down NCoR1 may help obese people avoid diabetes. "[The team] has already identified fatty acids in common foods that suppress NCoR1. If similar compounds can be found that target specific tissues, then it may be possible to treat diseases specific to muscle or fat," Coghlan says.

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