By Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M University AgriLife
A study by researchers from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the University of Colorado found male-only rat models used for studying obesity are limited and don’t address critical factors for understanding it.
“Obesity negatively affects virtually every system of the body and increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and many cancers,” said Dr. Erin Giles, AgriLife Research scientist in the nutrition and food science department at Texas A&M University, College Station.
Giles, the study’s primary investigator, said efforts to stop the growing global epidemic of obesity are not working so there is an urgent need to understand what causes obesity and develop new strategies, interventions and therapies to prevent and treat it.
She said one impediment to this goal is the common scientific practice of using only male rats in diet-induced obesity research.
Giles said those in her lab and the research community as a whole have recognized the importance of studying females, not only in clinical research but also at the preclinical level.