Hyderabad: Mutation in a specific gene has been identified as the cause of obesity in the world’s heaviest woman who is undergoing treatment in Mumbai. Ms Enam Ahmed, 36, from Egypt, has been diagnosed with monogenic obesity, where the mutation in the LEPR gene led to the body getting signals that it is hungry, and conserves food and energy. This was identified through tests for gene mutation.
The LEPR gene is said to act as a receptor for the fat cell hormone leptin. Dr S. Chandrika, senior general surgeon, said molecular genetic testing had helped identify rare genetic variations which are suspected to have a strong link to obesity, especially in super obese patients.
“This testing will help identify whether the gene is responsible for obesity.” Genetic changes or variations in several genes were suspected to contribute to obesity by increasing hunger and food intake. Monogenic obesity is due to a single gene which is inherited in the family. There is also polygenic obesity which is a complex interplay between multiple genes and environment.
Experts in the city said they were looking closely at the manner in which Ms Enam Ahmed’s case was being treated, as it would help them opt for diagnostic tests for super obese patients, with body mass index of more than 45 to 50.
Ms Zoya Brar, founder of a diagnostic centre where tests were carried out, explained, “Genetic testing will help understand the actual reason for obesity and help in one-to-one counselling in terms of modification in lifestyle and treatment....