Washington: Study in female mice has shed light on why women are more likely than men to gain fat in the abdomen after eating excess saturated fat.It could also explain why women gain fat following menopause.Scientists identified events in female mice that start with the activation of an enzyme and end with the formation of visceral fat – fat that accumulates around internal organs and is linked to a higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.At least one function for this enzyme is the production of a powerful hormone, which then drives up the formation of visceral fat cells. The source of this hormone is vitamin A.This enzyme appears to be activated at higher levels in females than in males when both sexes eat a high-fat diet. When researchers genetically altered mice by deleting the enzyme, female mice stayed lean, especially in the abdominal area, even when they continued to eat a lot of fat. Males without the enzyme also developed less fat, but the effect was far less significant than in females.
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