Scientists Create Obesity Fighting Brown Fat in Mice

July 30, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A team of Boston researchers has discovered a way to produce a natural energy-burning type of fat, which has great potential to fight against obesity and diabetes. The researchers engineered mouse and human cells, using two proteins that worked in tandem as a “switch” to transform the cells into brown fat producing cells.

Normal white fat calls are responsible for storing unsightly fat in the body, because of excess caloric intake. The unhealthy fat places stress on the body, which causes harmful inflammation in body organs and the circulatory system. Brown fat or Brown Adipose Tissue works completely opposite from white fat cells, by using oxygen to burn sugar from the diet to generate heat, rather than pile on the fat in our thighs and stomach.

Lead researcher Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, of the, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discovered the key to transforming immature muscle cells into obesity-busting brown fat, using two proteins. The proteins are called, PRDM16 and C/EBP-beta, which work together to set off the production of brown fat in several types of cells.

The researchers used a virus to inject the proteins into embryonic mouse connective tissue, adult mouse skin cells and human skin cells, with mature brown fat cells developing in all the cell samples. The researchers then transplanted the engineered cells into mice, where brown fat developed and was found to burn excess energy in the mice.

Spiegelman believes the results of the study “give a lot more credence” to using the brown fat “switch” therapy to treat obesity and diabetes. Spiegelman envisions a future brown fat drug that could be easily administered to patients.

The full study is available on the online edition of the journal Nature.



One Response to “Scientists Create Obesity Fighting Brown Fat in Mice”

  1. Hitting the Links 7/31/09 | The Clumsy Fly on July 31st, 2009 12:14 pm

    […] Obesity:  Scientists may have found a way to fight the type of fat that makes you fat by using the type of fat that burns that fat.  So, in other words, they have created a fat-fighting fat that may one day help those who are fat fight fat. […]

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