Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists develop a new way to identify good fat

When it comes to fat, you want the brown type and not so much of the white variety because brown fat burns energy to keep you warm and metabolically active, while white fat stores excess energy around your waist, causing health problems. Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School are studying brown fat with a goal of fighting obesity.

Right now, it is hard for researchers to spot brown fat cells at the molecular level, which is hindering efforts to harness their ability to guard against obesity. To address that issue, scientists developed a brown fat detection method and it worked in an animal model. This proof-of-concept study is published today in Nature Communications.

“Brown adipose tissue, responsible for heat generation, has high importance in the context of metabolic diseases. Brown fat is more common in children but has recently been discovered in adult humans. However, measurement of its body distribution has remained technically challenging. We report a peptide probe that zeroes in on brown fat and can be used for localization of this tissue in mice by whole body imaging,” said Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and associate professor at the UTHealth Center for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine. He receives support from a John S. Dunn Research Scholar Fund and is holder of the Jerold B. Katz Distinguished Professorship in Stem Cell Research at UTHealth.

If this brown fat detection strategy proves effective in clinical trials, it could allow doctors to personalize treatments based on the ratio of brown fat to white fat of their patients. Further, it might help monitor stimulation of brown fat through prospective therapies.

“This is the first targeted imaging approach for the detection of brown fat,” Kolonin said.

Kolonin teamed up with UTHealth medical imaging researcher Eva Sevick-Muraca, Ph.D., to develop a near-infrared fluorescence imaging probe that binds to brown adipose vasculature and emits tiny amounts of skin-penetrating light that can be picked up by highly sensitive cameras. Sevick-Muraca is professor, director of the Center for Molecular Imaging and holder of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Disease Research at UTHealth.

The probe is a peptide comprised of a series of amino acids. Kolonin’s team tested numerous combinations before finding one that selectively localizes to brown fat when administered intravenously. Sevick-Muraca’s team coupled the peptide with a dye that could be picked up during whole body scans.

Other UTHealth Medical School contributors include co-lead authors Ali Azhdarinia, Ph.D., and Alexes Daquinag, Ph.D., and co-author Sukhen Ghosh, Ph.D. Contributing from The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston was graduate student Chieh Tseng.

Kolonin and Sevick-Muraca operate laboratories in the UTHealth Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases and are on the faculty of the graduate school.

The study titled “A peptide probe for targeted brown adipose tissue imaging” received support from National Institutes of Health (1R21DK090752).

Rob Cahill

Robert Cahill | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

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...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

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...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

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...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First results of NSTX-U research operations

26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica

26.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>