Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inflammation halts fat-burning

04.01.2017

Scientists at the University of Bonn have shown in mice that excess pounds can simply be melted away by converting unwanted white fat cells into energy-consuming brown slimming cells. Can this interesting approach also be used to combat obesity? In a recent study, the university researchers show why the inflammatory responses that often occur in overweight people block this kind of fat cell conversion. However, there may be a starting point to bypass this inhibition. The results have now been published in the scientific journal “Cell Reports”.

The vision is enticing: if bodyfat can simply be melted away with new active ingredients, then this could also prevent the widespread consequences of obesity – such as joint problems, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The team around Alexander Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn has been researching how this could be possible for years.


Prof. Alexander Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn.

Photo: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn

“In studies in mice, we have found various starting points to convert troublesome white fat cells into desirable brown fat cells,” reports Prof. Pfeifer. The brown cells possess an extremely high number of mitochondria – these cell power stations “burn” white fat by converting it into thermal energy. The result: If the number of brown cells increases, the mice significantly lose weight.

The signal path of the messenger cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) plays an important role in this fat conversion. “The desirable brown fat cells rely on cGMP,” explains Prof. Pfeifer. As the researchers have shown in various studies on mice, the widespread active ingredient sildenafil or a medication against pulmonary hypertension, for instance, can be used to reduce the number of white fat cells to the benefit of the brown fat cells and thus accelerate fat burning like a turbocharger.

The fat-burning turbocharger comes to a standstill in abdominal fat

Is this a possible option to effectively treat the significantly increasing obesity levels around the world and thus prevent serious complications? This is the question that the researchers are looking into in their current study. They gave mice a high-calorie diet and examined the changes in the animals’ fat tissue.

While hardly any inflammation occurred in the subcutaneous fat of obese mice and cGMP signaling was largely intact, things were very different for the deeper-lying abdominal fat: through the significant weight increase, inflammation had spread and the fat-burning turbocharger cGMP largely came to a standstill.

This uncovered a dual problem: abdominal fat is considered much more dangerous than subcutaneous fat because it triggers inflammation and can promote cardiovascular diseases, for instance. According to the latest results from researchers at the University of Bonn, this is also where cGMP, which is important for fat-burning, was largely blocked. The researchers thus asked themselves: Is it perhaps possible to remove this block?

Lead author Abhishek Sanyal from Prof. Pfeifer’s team looked into this question. He investigated in what way inflammation inhibits the cGMP signal path. “Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) plays an important role here,” reports Sanyal. “The inflammation factor TNFalpha suppresses the cGMP signal path and thus prevents white fat cells from being turned into brown fat cells.”

Using human subcutaneous and abdominal fat samples, the scientists, in cooperation with the University Hospital Leipzig and the Karolinska Institutet Stockholm (Sweden), find similar cahnges not only to rodents but also to the human organism. Although applications for obesity treatments in humans are still a long way off, the results indicate a direction for further research: “Obviously, one possible starting point in combatting obesity could be to inhibit the inflammatory response in abdominal fat while administering cGMP-stimulating active ingredients,” says Prof. Pfeifer to summarize the findings.

Publication: Interplay between obesity-induced inflammation and cGMP signaling in white adipose tissue, Cell Reports, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.12.028

Media contact:

Prof. Alexander Pfeifer
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
University of Bonn
Tel. +49 (0)228/28751300
E-mail: alexander.pfeifer@uni-bonn.de

Dr. Andreas Archut | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>