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HomescienceScientists Discover Way to Burn Calories with Self-Destructing Fat Cells | Science

Scientists Discover Way to Burn Calories with Self-Destructing Fat Cells | Science

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A team of researchers has discovered a way to turn white fat cells into beige ones that burn calories instead of storing them. Although the method has only been performed on mice, they intend to develop new weight-loss treatments for humans.

Fat cells are classified into three types: white, brown and beige. White fat stores fat, which contributes to weight gain when it is plentiful. Brown fat cells, on the other hand, are designed to burn calories to keep us warm, although most of them are used up before we reach the age of one.

The beige variety persists throughout our lives, being able to store energy or burn it on demand. However, it is possible for white fat cells to turn beige during exercise or exposure to cold, and scientists are looking for ways to control this process in the lab.

In the study published July 1 in Journal of Clinical InvestigationIn experiments on mice, the scientists discovered that this transformation occurs due to the inhibition of the protein KLF-15, a substance present in much higher concentrations in brown and beige fat cells compared to white fat cells. They decided to create a strain of mice that completely lacked this protein in their white fat cells, and the result was that they turned beige.

Adipose tissue is where fat cells, also known as adipocytes, are located – Image: Wikipedia

“A lot of people thought this wasn’t possible,” Brian Feldman, professor of pediatric endocrinology and senior author of the study, said in a statement. statement“We’ve shown not only that this approach turns these white fat cells beige, but also that the level of doing so is not as high as we thought.”

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Although it worked in rodents, the scientists are investigating how they can achieve the same result in humans, where KLF-15 interacts with the Adrb1 receptor, which is crucial for energy balance. The discovery could be crucial for weight-loss treatments by focusing on a related receptor called Adrb3, which has been shown to influence weight loss in mice.

However, drugs targeting Adrb3 in humans are ineffective. The study authors suspect that developing new drugs that interact with the Adrb1 receptor could be more effective in combating obesity by turning white fat cells beige.

“We're certainly not at the finish line, but we're close enough that you can clearly see how these findings could have a major impact on obesity treatment,” Feldman concludes.

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