Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Adenosine can melt "love handles"

16.10.2014

The number of overweight persons is greatly increasing worldwide - and as a result is the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, diabetes or Alzheimer's disease. For this reason, many people dream of an efficient method for losing weight.

An international team of researchers led by Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the University Hospital Bonn, have now come one step closer to this goal. The scientists discovered a new way to stimulate brown fat and thus burn energy from food: The body's own adenosine activates brown fat and "browns" white fat. The results are now being published in the renowned journal "Nature".


In the lab: Dr. Thorsten Gnad, Saskia Scheibler, Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer, Anja Glöde, Prof. Dr. Christa E. Müller, Laia Reverte-Salisa, Prof. Dr. Ivar von Kügelgen, Dr. Linda S. Hoffmann.

Photo: Claudia Siebenhüner/UKB

"Not all fat is equal," says Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University Hospital Bonn. Humans have two different types of fat: undesirable white fat cells which form bothersome "love handles", for example, as well as brown fat cells, which act like a desirable heater to convert excess energy into heat. “If we are able to activate brown fat cells or to convert white fat cells into brown ones, it might be possible to simply melt excess fat away” reports the pharmacologist.

The group of Prof. Pfeifer together with an international team from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, as well as from the Helmholtz-Center Dresden-Rossendorf and the University of Düsseldorf now discovered a new signalling molecule capable of activating brown fat cells: adenosine. Adenosine is typically released during stress. Crucial for transmitting the adenosine signal is the adenosine receptor A2A.

Adenosine activates brown adipose tissue

"If adenosine binds to this receptor in brown fat cells, fat burning is significantly stimulated," reports Dr. Thorsten Gnad from Prof. Pfeifer's team. It was previously thought not possible for adenosine to activate brown fat. Several studies with rats and hamsters demonstrated that adenosine blocks brown fat.

However, the researchers from the University of Bonn were not mislead by these previous findings. In contrast, using brown fat cells removed from humans during surgery, the scientists investigated the signaling pathway for fat activation using adenosine. The results showed that rats and hamsters react differently than humans in this regard. "The brown fat in mice on the other hand behaves just as in humans," summarizes Prof. Pfeifer.

“Browning” of white fat by adenosine

In addition, the research team investigated the possibility that adenosine transforms white fat cells into brown fat cells - a process termed “browning”. White fat cells normally cannot be induced to burn excess fat by adenosine, as they simply lack the A2A receptor. For this reason, the team of scientists transferred the A2A receptor gene from brown fat cells to white fat cells in mice. Consequently, the white fat cells also have A2A receptors and start browning and burning energy.

Clinical application is still far off

As a result, it was possible for the researchers from the University of Bonn to comprehend the significance of adenosine for brown cells in mice and humans for the first time. "Through the administration of adenosine-like substances, the mice actually lost weight," reports Prof. Pfeifer. However, many questions in this regard still need to be investigated. For this reason, clinical application is still far off.

Publication: Adenosine activates brown adipose tissue and recruits beige adipocytes via A2A receptors, “Nature”, DOI: 10.1038/nature13816

Contact information:

Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
University Hospital Bonn
Tel. 0228/28751300
E-Mail: alexander.pfeifer@uni-bonn.de

Johannes Seiler | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>