Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fat cells fight disease, Purdue University researchers find

21.01.2004


Fat cells, commonly blamed for a number of diseases, also may aid in the body’s defense against illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, according to Purdue University researchers.


Purdue researchers have determined that fat cells in humans defend against biochemical processes involved in illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. The research team is headed by Michael Spurlock (left), professor of animal sciences, and Kolapo Ajuwon, a doctoral student. (Purdue Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell)



Rather than contributing to disease, fat cells, or adipocytes (pronounced ah-dip-poe-sights), normally function as part of the immune system and help control lipid accumulation, so they actually may benefit human health, said Michael Spurlock, animal sciences professor.

"Adipocytes can be functional and beneficial without creating obesity," Spurlock said. "The key is that we want plenty of adipocytes to meet whatever immunological and endocrinological needs they fulfill, but we don’t want them to overaccumulate lipid."


In the January issue of The American Journal of Physiology, Spurlock and Kolapo Ajuwon, both of the Department of Animal Sciences and the Comparative Medicine Program, report that pig fat cells respond to infections by producing hormone-like proteins that regulate certain aspects of the body’s immune response.

"This is additional evidence that fat cells behave in many ways as immune cells," Spurlock said. "It also is the first evidence that adipocyte cells respond directly to bacterial toxins like classical immune cells."

To produce this infection-fighting response, Ajuwon, a doctoral student, performed experiments exposing fat cells to interferon-gamma, a small protein produced by infection-fighting T-cells. This caused the adipocytes to produce hormone-like proteins, called cytokines.

"Our research documents a pathway by which the adipocytes participate in the immune response," Spurlock said. "We have very clearly shown that interferon-gamma is increasing expression of cytokines in pig fat cells."

In another part of the study, the researchers found that a molecule, or ligand, binds to molecules on the outside of pig fat cells incubated in a laboratory dish. In this case the ligand is an inflammatory molecule called LPS. This binding with the receptor molecule on the pig fat cell, like a key in a lock, signals fat cells to produce more of another hormone-like cytokine.

The researchers believe that this is similar to what happens in humans since some pig breeds show marked similarity in cardiovascular disease, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, Spurlock said. The study’s findings that the LPS ligand and interferon-gamma regulate production of cytokines that impact both energy metabolism and immune function are significant in studying human diseases, including cancer and diabetes.

The factor in the fat tissue that is linked to diseases is the amount of lipid, also known as fatty acid or tricylglycerol, in the adipocytes, he said. As adipocytes accumulate excess lipid, their normal function is distorted and they produce too much of some biochemicals and not enough of others. These abnormalities can culminate in disease.

"For a long time, we have looked for the link between the immune system, obesity and insulin resistance," Spurlock said. "The fact that fat cells actually promote or secrete factors, such as the cytokine interleukin-6, may be fundamentally linked to insulin resistance in diabetes. This makes adipocytes very important cells."

People with Type II diabetes produce insulin in their pancreas, but the insulin can’t control their glucose levels. Adipocytes normally produce factors that promote insulin regulation of glucose levels, but these factors don’t function properly when obesity is involved.

Spurlock and his research team now want to determine other factors, such as certain classes of fatty acids, that will activate or suppress the LPS receptor.

"We know there are non-infectious ligands that activate the receptor, so we want to know what they are," he said. "If we can discover these regulators, then we might be able to find a way to manipulate the receptors and immune pathways to regulate the body’s energy metabolism and apply that to diabetes and cancer."

The other researchers involved in the study are doctoral student Sheila Jacobi and research associate Joanne Kuske, both of the Purdue Department of Animal Sciences and the Comparative Medicine Program. The program is a collaboration of Purdue’s Department of Animal Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine and Indiana University School of Medicine with initial funding from the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.

Writer: Susan A. Steeves, (765) 496-7481, ssteeves@purdue.edu

Source: Michael Spurlock, (765) 494-4820, spurloc0@purdue.edu

Susan A. Steeves | Purdue News
Further information:
http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html4ever/2004/040120.Spurlock.fatcells.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>