Researchers Turn White Fat to Energy-Burning Brown Fat in
TUESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Certain cells in white fat
can be changed into energy-burning brown fat, according to an
animal study that might one day lead to new treatments for obesity,
In tests on mice, a team at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston
found that exposure to a protein called BMP-7 caused progenitor
cells in subcutaneous (just beneath the skin) white fat tissue and
skeletal muscle to turn into brown fat cells.
Previous research by the same team found that BMP-7 plays a key
role in brown fat development.
In this new study, the conversion of the progenitor cells in the
subcutaneous white fat tissue was increased when they were exposed
to both BMP-7 and the diabetes drug rosiglitazone.
"This finding opens up a whole new avenue for researchers interested in designing molecules that induce endogenous progenitor cells to differentiate into mature brown fat cells," senior author Yu-Hua Tseng, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a news release from the Joslin Diabetes Center.
"It's particularly exciting because we found that some of these cells are located in subcutaneous white fat, which could be a very accessible source for them," Tseng added.
The study is published in this week's issue of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The American Academy of Family Physicians explains
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