Brown fat tissue, the body's "good fat," communicates with the brain through sensory nerves, possibly sharing information that is important for fighting human obesity, such as how much fat we have and how much fat we've lost, according to researchers at Georgia State University.
The findings, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, help to describe the conversation that takes place between the brain and brown fat tissue while brown fat is generating heat.
Brown fat is considered "good fat" or "healthy fat" because it burns calories to help generate heat for our bodies and expend energy, while white fat stores energy for later and can increase the risk for health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. A person with a healthy metabolism has less white fat and an active supply of brown fat.
Studies show that brown fat plays a big role in someone having the capability to burn more energy, becoming a tool to stay trim and fight obesity. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to target brown fat and activate it more, said Johnny Garretson, study author and doctoral student in the Neuroscience Institute and Center for Obesity Reversal at Georgia State.
The study found that when brown fat tissue was activated with a drug that mimics the sympathetic nervous system messages that normally come from the brain, the fat talked back to the brain by activating sensory nerves. The sensory nerves from brown fat increased their activity in response to direct chemical activation and heat generation.
"This is the first time that the function of sensory nerves from brown fat has been examined," Garretson said. "Brown fat is an active organ that's relatively important for metabolism, and we found a new pathway of its communication.
"The study informs us more about the communication between fat and the brain, which is really beneficial for treating human obesity. There is evidence that people with more brown fat have a better metabolism, lower instances of type II diabetes and are trimmer. Knowing how to increase the amount of brown fat activity or increase the brown fat, that's the future of trying to figure out yet another way to try and lose weight effectively and quickly."
The researchers speculate that brown fat is telling the brain many things, such as how much heat is being generated, how much and what types of free energy are being used or stored, how much fat we have and how much fat we've lost.
"As brown fat gets hotter and starts to generate heat, being active and doing good things for our body, it increases our metabolism and helps us burn white fat," Garretson said. "As it's getting hotter, Dr. (Vitaly) Ryu and other members of our lab found that it tells the brain it's getting hotter. We think this is some type of feedback, like a thermostat, and as it gets hotter, it probably controls how the brain is talking back to it."
It was already known the brain communicates with fat tissue by telling it to break down and either release or use free energy for our bodies to function. This study shows a feedback loop between brown fat tissue and the brain.
The research team has studied the communication from fat to the brain and the brain to fat for years, but they're one of only a few labs in the world to examine communication from fat to the brain through the nervous system, Garretson said.
The research team includes Ryu, Garretson, Dr. Yang Liu, Dr. Cheryl Vaughan and Dr. Timothy Bartness, director of the Center for Obesity Reversal at Georgia State. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
LaTina Emerson | EurekAlert!
‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie
Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy