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 Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>