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Editorial – June

Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene is capable of mutations of actual DNA codes by forming a fusion gene. It is already related with various types carcinoma. Recently, it was published online on https://www.news-medical.net/ (26th May) that ALK gene variant facilitates the resistance to weight gain. It means lacking or masking of ALK variants may lead to new frontiers against the obesity. The study was focused on identification of genetic susceptibility to obesity to physiologically healthy thin individuals based on BMI.

The study was done on Drosophila and mice. In Drosphila, decrease in triglyceride levels were observed after deleting the RNAi mediated ALK. In mice, marked resistance to diet and leptin-mutation induced obesity was observed after deletion of ALK. The mechanism is suggested in terms of hypothalamic control of ALK expression leading to more energy expenditure and adipose tissue lipolysis. Myers and Olson (2012) have shown the involvement of the arcuate nucleus of hypothalamus in central control of feeding and energy expenditure through median eminence.

Interestingly a role of ALK in modulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis was presented by Witek et al. (2015). Exactly the median eminence helps in transport of peripheral hormonal and nutrient signals sensing by the arcuate nucleus. This leads to anterior pituitary glands. The study clearly indicates the impacts of knockout of ALK in reduction of testosterone levels in male. It may leave impacts on pituitary gonadotropins and gonadal sex steroids. Ultimate impacts can be observed on estrous cycle in female and spermatogenesis in male. 

Understanding of human genome leads in discernment of pathophysiology of various diseases with genetic impacts. Evolutionary changes in gene are tendering new scopes to keep human healthy. But, it also true that sudden deletion of any gene may lead to certain undesired effects, so knocking out of ALK to fight with obesity should only remain as study, otherwise other related problems with hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis or from other pathway may be evident.