Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Identify Protein That May Explain ‘Healthy’ Obesity

02.02.2009
Mice whose fat cells were allowed to grow larger than fat cells in normal mice developed “healthy” obesity when fed a high-fat diet, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found in a new study.

The fat but healthy mice lacked a protein called collagen VI, which normally surrounds fat cells and limits how large they can grow, like a cage around a water balloon. The findings appear online and in a future edition of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

“The mice lacking collagen VI fared much better metabolically than their counterparts that retained this particular collagen,” said Dr. Philipp Scherer, director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research at UT Southwestern and the study’s senior author. “The mice without collagen VI don’t develop inflammation or insulin resistance. They still get obese, but it’s a ‘healthy’ obesity.”

When people take in more calories than needed, excess calories are stored in adipose or fatty tissue. The fat cells are embedded in and secrete substances into an extracellular matrix, a type of connective tissue that provides support to fat tissue, like scaffolding. Collagen VI is one component of the extracellular matrix. Too much of this connective tissue prevents individual cells from expanding and can lead to fibrosis and eventually inflammation.

Inflammation is thought to be an underlying cause of metabolic disorders in humans, said Dr. Scherer. Large fat cells are often considered a bad omen, he said, because they typically lead to increased cell death and systemic insulin resistance. Under normal circumstances, fat cells continue to grow until they reach a point where the extracellular matrix they’ve built around themselves is so strong that it’s no longer flexible.

“In this particular case, however, the large fat cells are not as inflamed as they would normally be,” Dr. Scherer said. “Fat cells that lack collagen VI can grow to a huge size without becoming inflamed, suggesting that collagen VI directly affects the ability of fat cells to expand.”

Dr. Scherer said the current finding is clinically relevant and probably will translate well from the mice to humans. “Our study highlights the fact that collagen VI, and possibly other extracellular matrix constituents, are extremely important in modulating fat-cell physiology,” he said.

The next step is to determine precisely how collagen VI functions in the body.

“We need to get a better grip on targets that may allow us to interfere in this process. Unfortunately collagen VI can’t be knocked out in humans, but we may be able to manipulate it,” Dr. Scherer said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Zhao Wang, postdoctoral researcher in internal medicine, as well as volunteer faculty members Drs. Nicola Abate and Manisha Chandalia, who are now on staff at the UT Medical Branch at Galveston. Scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Merck Research Laboratories and the University of Padua in Italy also participated.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/endocrinology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in endocrinology, including diabetes treatment.

Dr. Philipp Scherer -- http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/findfac/professional/0,2356,92752,00.html

Kristen Holland Shear | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>