Dr. Gema Frühbeck, director of the Metabolic Research Laboratory of the University Hospital of the University of Navarra, has published a commentary in the latest issue of Nature. The article presents aquaporin as a new modulator of the biology of the adipocyte. It is a new concept concerning how the permeability of glycerol in fat cells is able to modulate the size of the adipocyte and, as a result, can contribute to the development of obesity.
Aquaporins are related to the transport of water through cell membranes, but only recently has they been linked to weight control and adiposity. There is a subfamily, the aquaglyceroporins, which transport water as well as smaller solutes, such as glycerol. It has been shown that if one eliminates the specific aquaporin of the adipose tissue, aquaporin-7, glycerol is no longer able to leave the fat cell and instead accumulates in the cell interior. That is to say, it produces a hypertrophy of the adipocyte, which if maintained over time, and in many adipocytes simultaneously, results in obesity. It has been shown that this aquaporin-7 also participates in insulin sensitivity. Nevertheless, in humans the loss of this function as a result of gene mutation has not been observed to be associated with the development of obesity or diabetes.
From now on the researchers from this laboratory of the Hospital will have as their objective the deepening of their understanding of the physico-pathologic situation common to human obesity and the evaluation of these channels as a possible means for therapeutic treatment.
Irati Kortabitarte | alfa
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