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Adipocyte. 2015 May 7;4(4):325-8. doi: 10.1080/21623945.2015.1028700. eCollection 2015 Oct-Dec.

Calorie hoarding and thrifting: Foxa3 finds a way.

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Genetic of Development and Disease Branch; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease; National Institutes of Health ; Bethesda, MD, USA.


Obesity and diabetes are major health concerns worldwide. Western diets, often calorically rich, paired with sedentary habits are driving the current worldwide epidemic of pediatric and adult obesity. In addition, age related energy imbalances lead to increased adiposity and metabolic disorders later in life, making the middle aged population particularly susceptible. Here we discuss how Forkhead box A3 (Foxa3), a family member of the forkhead box binding proteins, can potentially contribute to pathology by playing a double role in metabolism. Recent data revealed that Foxa3 favors the selective expansion of visceral depots under high caloric conditions (e.g., high fat diet) and suppresses subcutaneous fat tissue energy expenditure during aging. This evidence suggests that Foxa3 acts to both preserve and conserve calories, by accumulating fat and by reducing metabolic burn. In other words, Foxa3 appears to function to enable energy "hoarding," which may be critical for survival of organisms with intermittent exposure to external caloric sources, but pathologic in circumstances where calories are abundant. Understanding how this "calorie hoarder gene" functions may suggest approaches to combat obesity and associated metabolic disorders.


Foxa3; PGC1α; PPARγ; aging; obesity; thrifty

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