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).
Robert Cahill | EurekAlert!
What Makes Stem Cells into Perfect Allrounders
27.06.2017 | Universität Zürich
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology