The group revealed that by 64 weeks of age, considered the twilight years in a lab mouse's lifespan, the mice that lacked the AdPLA enzyme averaged only 39.1 grams, a weight more typical of a low-fat diet, while the control mice weighed in at a hefty 73.7 grams.
In their study report, the researcher noted the missing AdPLA did not change the number of fat cells, but simply kept the cells from accumulating excess fat.
They also studied whether loss of AdPLA could prevent genetic obesity in mice by comparing the animals lacking leptin, the hormone that signals when the body is full, with those lacking both AdPLA and leptin.
During the study, leptin-deficient mice ate an average of 5 grams of food per day, while mice that lacked both AdPLA and leptin ate 7.5 grams.
By 17 weeks of age, the leptin-deficient mice were already hitting the scales at 75 grams, while those lacking both AdPLA and leptin weighed just under 35 grams.
The team noted that levels of AdPLA increase after eating to block fat breakdown, and decrease with fasting to allow fat breakdown to proceed efficiently.