Humans and other mammals have two sorts of fatty tissue ¬- white and brown. The white fat tissue is what is usually regarded as 'fat,' the kind many people feel they have too much of. The brown tissue, on the other hand, is a fatty tissue whose job is to burn fat, so that the energy is converted to heat either to keep us (as newborns) warm, or to balance an excessive energy intake.
"This is an answer to many years of discussion in the field, where two views have been put forward: that the cells can have two different fates, brown or white, or that they were predetermined to be one or the other, as this study now shows. An additional and highly unexpected finding was that it could be demonstrated that the very young cells that were to become brown fat cells had characteristics similar to those of young muscle cells," says Barbara Cannon, professor of physiology at the Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University.
The discovery explains to some extent the property that primarily distinguishes brown fat from white fat, namely, its ability to use energy, which is something a muscle cell does in order to work.
Since there is an interest in being able to make use of the potential of brown fat to burn fat and thereby to perhaps help make fat people slim or primarily to counteract the development of obesity in the first place, this discovery is not only of significance in terms of our basic understanding of cell development.
"Our findings do not exclude the possibility of influencing young cells to develop in one direction or the other. It also seems as if there are dormant brown fat cells within the body that could be stimulated to develop and become active, fat-burning cells. Normally adult humans are seen as having rather little brown fat tissue, but new studies using new technologies are starting to challenge this view. We see new potential for understanding the mechanisms that make cells develop into different tissues. And new knowledge always paves the way for new possibilities," says Barbara Cannon.For further information:
James A. Timmons, professor of exercise biology, Heriot Watt University, phone: +44 (0)131 451 4193; cell phone: +44 (0)7833992862; e-mail: J.Timmons@hw.ac.uk
Maria Sandqvist | idw
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Life Sciences