Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study in Mice Discovers Injection of Heat-Generating Cells Reduces Belly Fat

06.09.2012
The injection of a tiny capsule containing heat-generating cells into the abdomens of mice led those animals to burn abdominal fat and initially lose about 20 percent of belly fat after 80 days of treatment.

Researchers conducting the study were surprised to see that the injected cells even acted like “missionaries,” converting existing belly fat cells into so-called thermogenic cells, which use fat to generate heat.

Over time, the mice gained back some weight. But they resisted any dramatic weight gain on a high-fat diet and burned away more than a fifth of the cells that make up their visceral fat, which surrounds the organs and is linked to higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The scientists took advantage of the heat-generating properties of a so-called good fat in the body, brown fat, to cut back on the white fat cells that compose the visceral fat that tends to accumulate in the belly.

The scientists combined those brown fat thermogenic cells with genetically modified cells missing an enzyme that leads to visceral fat growth. The engineered cells were placed inside a gel-like capsule that allowed for release of its contents without triggering an immune response.

“With a very small number of cells, the effect of the injection of this capsule was more pronounced at the beginning, when the mice dramatically lost about 10 percent of their weight. They gained some weight back after that. But then we started to look at how much visceral fat was present, and we saw about a 20 percent reduction in those lipids. Importantly, other nontreated peripheral or subcutaneous fat, which has some beneficial health effects, remained the same. That’s what we want,” said Ouliana Ziouzenkova, assistant professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

“We observed the mice for 80 days after injection and the capsule didn’t break or cause any scarring or inflammation. This suggests it’s a clean, safe potential therapy for obesity,” added Ziouzenkova, also an investigator in Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Studies in larger animals would be needed before trials in humans could begin, she said.

If this were someday approved for humans, Ziouzenkova said such a therapy would be best suited to patients who develop visceral fat with aging, aren’t able to exercise and shouldn’t dramatically reduce their calories because that can cause the loss of beneficial subcutaneous fat. She also noted that anti-obesity drugs for humans currently on the market can reduce body weight by about 10 to 15 percent, but also have side effects.

The research is published in a recent issue of the journal Biomaterials.

A year ago, Ziouzenkova’s lab identified an enzyme in mice that relates to fat accumulation after consumption of a high-fat diet, and she recently published a paper indicating that mice lacking that enzyme could stay lean even while eating excess fat. She applied those findings in this work by using the genetically modified cells that are missing that enzyme to potentially help boost the ability of brown fat cells to burn up visceral fat.

For this study, she collaborated with Ohio State chemists to create the capsules. They are composed of alginate-poly-L-lysine, a compound that creates enough of a barrier to encapsulate cells without signaling the immune system that it should react to a foreign object in the body, while also enabling nutrient supply to the encapsulated cells for their long-term survival.

The researchers used three groups of normal mice for the study, feeding them all a high-fat diet for 90 days. After that, five mice received no treatment, five were treated with empty capsules and five received an injection of active capsules containing genetically engineered cells. The capsules were injected into two areas of visceral fat in their abdomens.

The mice continued to eat a high-fat diet for another 80 days. The mice receiving no treatment continued to gain weight in those 80 days, while the mice receiving thermogenic cells lost weight for 23 days and then began to gain it back, eventually maintaining a steady weight even after continuing to eat excessive saturated fat. Mice receiving empty capsules also lost some weight, but the researchers determined in a separate pilot study that the sham injections did not reduce visceral fat.

The researchers examined visceral fat pads from the mice and determined that overall, lipid content was at least 20 percent lower in mice treated with active capsules compared to the placebo injection group of mice.

A closer look at exactly what was going on in the animals’ cells showed that the injected cells produced high levels of a protein called Ucp1, which burns fat, suggesting that this protein assisted in the visceral fat reduction.

By tagging the injected cells with a fluorescent protein, the scientists could use imaging technology to track the cells in the body; this not only benefited the research, but also provides a way to safely remove these capsules if needed, Ziouzenkova noted.

“The injected cells were perfectly inversely correlated with lipids – so the more injected cells we have capable of burning fat, the more fat gets burned,” she said. “These injected cells worked almost like missionaries, starting to convert host cells and turning them into thermogenic cells.”

Because that creation of heat could be uncomfortable inside a human body, the researchers analyzed the treated mice further to see if the thermogenesis in the belly would produce effects similar to hot flashes.

“Heat production was higher in injected animals, but it was not dramatically higher. So there is some kind of response, but it seems not to be at a magnitude impairing a patient’s well-being,” Ziouzenkova said. “The animals were also moving less than noninjected animals, but in spite of that, they were still able to lose visceral fat. Their glucose tolerance improved, as well, which is probably related to reduced visceral fat.”

Ziouzenkova said she hopes to design additional capsules to target a variety of diseases beyond obesity.

This work was supported by the American Heart Association Great Rivers Affiliate, the National Institutes of Health, a pilot industry partnership grant at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences), the Ohio State College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE), a Food Innovation Center Seed grant and an EHE dissertation fellowship.

Ziouzenkova collaborated with several Ohio State scientists on this research, including L. James Lee, director of the NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Affordable Nanoengineering of Polymeric Biomedical Devices (NSEC); and Sanjay Rajagopalan, Chandan Sen and Sashwati Roy of the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute (DHLRI). Additional co-authors include Fangping Yang and David DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition; Xulang Zhang of the NSEC; Andrei Maiseyeu of the DHLRI; Georgeta Mihai, Santosh Maurya and Muthu Periasamy of the Department of Physiology & Cell Biology; and Rumana Yasmeen and Valerie Bergdall of University Laboratory Animal Resources, all at Ohio State; and Gregg Duester of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Contact: Ouliana Ziouzenkova, (614) 292-5034; Ziouzenkova.1@osu.edu
Written by Emily Caldwell, (614) 292-8310; Caldwell.151@osu.edu

Ouliana Ziouzenkova | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>