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A new study from the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine sheds light on the mechanism by which DNA damage suppresses appetite, a finding with implications for understanding the appetite lowering side-effects of chemotherapy.

Illustration of a DNA strand © Shutterstock/Kateryna Kon

In the paper, published in the journal Nature, researchers from the Patel Group, MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine along with colleagues at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, and Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, describe a mechanism by which our bodies recognise and respond to toxins and chemotherapy.

Clues to this process came from patients with a rare illness, Cockayne syndrome. Children with Cockayne syndrome develop debilitating symptoms including premature ageing, kidney and brain degeneration, and severe weight loss. The genetic cause of this syndrome, loss of a Cockayne syndrome gene, leaves sufferers unable to repair DNA damage. However, a mouse model of the disease mimicking the loss of a Cockayne gene was unable to recreate the disease profile seen in humans.

Read the full story on the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine website

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