Turning ‘bad’ fat into ‘good’ could help cure obesityMay 4th, 2011 - 1:23 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, May 4 (ANI): A new study has suggested that the bad ‘white’ fat in the body can be transformed into brown fat to burn off calories and weight, paving the way for a probable new treatment for obesity in humans.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have conducted a test on rats wherein, a protein in the brain known to stimulate eating was knocked down.
By doing so, they not only reduced the animals’ calorie intake and weight, but also transformed their fat into a type that burns off more energy.
“If we could get the human body to turn ‘bad fat’ into ‘good fat’ that burns calories instead of storing them, we could add a serious new tool to tackle the obesity epidemic in the US,” says Sheng Bi, study leader, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Johns Hopkins.
Bi and his colleagues did an experiment to see if suppressing the appetite-stimulating neuropeptide Y (NPY) protein in the dorsomedial hypothalamus of the brain would decrease body fat in rats.
For five weeks, two groups of rats were fed a regular diet, with one group also being treated with a virus to reduce NPY expression and the other left as a control group.
At the end of five weeks, the treated group weighed less than the control group, demonstrating that suppression of NPY reduced eating.
Bi says the results “made sense,” given that NPY has been shown to stimulate eating. The less NPY, the less the rats would eat, his team hypothesized.
He further adds that it may be possible to transplant or inject brown fat stem cells under the skin to burn white fat and stimulate weight loss. “Only future research will tell us if that is possible,” he says.
The study has been published in the journal on Cell Metabolism. (ANI)
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