advertisement
08 January 2010

Scientists stem fat cell production

Good news for those who seek to shed their holiday pounds: researchers announced in Austria that they have found a way to suppress growth of fat cells.

0

Good news for those who seek to shed their holiday pounds: researchers announced in Austria that they have found a way to suppress growth of fat cells.

So far, the method has been used in mice, by unlocking a genetic mechanism. Such a method could eventually help humans, too. By modifying a certain gene, the molecular biologists were able to raise very lean, but healthy, animals that developed almost no white fat cells, according to a study published in the US journal Cell.

The modified gene, named "hedgehog," did not block the growth of brown fat cells, which directly turn fat contained in food into heat, and which are not related to obesity.

It is important for animals to retain some amount of such brown fat in order to regulate blood sugar levels.

Discovery has 'great potential'
"Almost all fat regulators that had been found so far influence both white and brown fat," said Andrew Pospisilik, one of the leading researchers of the project. "With 'hedgehog,' we have found one of the first molecules that targets only white fat."

The scientists said their discovery had great potential for being used in pharmaceutical products to fight obesity.

"To convert energy from food into body heat instead of fat is an attractive idea, especially in this season," they said in a statement. - (Sapa, January 2010)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Wasting water? »

South Africa is facing a water crisis Water saving tips Water quality report shocks

SEE: How much water do you use per day?

With level 4 water restrictions in Cape Town, residents are urged to use a maximum of 100 litres per person per day. Here’s how quickly it adds up.

Life saving tip! »

SEE: 10 things to keep in your first aid kit 10 first aid myths

Here's why you need a first aid kit in the car

Emergency services are often spread thin, especially when storms and major disasters strike. When travelling on the road, having a well-stocked first aid kit could be a lifesaver.