Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The role of fat as a signal substance

10.02.2003


Fat is not only a much-discussed food substance. Fat can also function as a signal substance in the body and activate a special receptor in the cells of important organs like the heart and liver. This opens opportunities for new ways of explaining the genesis of diabetes, a disease that is strongly associated with obesity.



This new role for fat was discovered by a team of researchers headed by Professor Christer Owman and Associate Professor Björn Old of the Wallenberg Neuroscience Center at Lund University, Sweden. They have found a previously unknown receptor on the surface of cells in the heart, liver, and muscles as well as the insulin cells of the pancreas.

A receptor can be likened to an antenna on the surface of a cell that receives chemical signals from its surroundings relays them inside the cell. Many of our most common diseases have to do with disturbances in the function of various receptors.


The Lund scientists’ discovery involves a receptor for fats, or rather a whole family of receptors that are activated by short, medium-length, and long fatty acids. They have dubbed these receptors FFARs (free fatty acid receptors).

The fact that fats can function as signal substances to activate events inside the cell is an entirely new insight. It is also interesting that the newly discovered receptors have a clear connection with diabetes: they are influenced by modern anti-diabetes drugs (so-called glitazones), and they exist on the surface of cells of precisely those organs that are involved in sugar metabolism: the liver, muscles, heart, and pancreas.

“The discovery of FFAR can provide a new explanation for the connection between fat and diabetes,” says Professor Christer Owman. He hopes the research breakthrough will help to clarify the dual role of fats in the body, being both essential to life and potentially damaging.

The research team has also been able to demonstrate that the newly discovered receptors also occur in the brain. In this context there are possible connections to the importance of fats in the development of the brain and of brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Christer Owman and his associates hope to be able to study this more closely in the future.

These research results are now being published in the prestigious international journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. The research team has applied for a patent on the function of these receptors in order to be able to use them to develop drugs for diabetes and obesity.

Ingela Björck | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Hopkins researchers ID neurotransmitter that helps cancers progress
25.04.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Trigger region found for absence epileptic seizures
25.04.2019 | RIKEN

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Full speed ahead for SmartEEs at Automotive Interiors Expo 2019

Flexible, organic and printed electronics conquer everyday life. The forecasts for growth promise increasing markets and opportunities for the industry. In Europe, top institutions and companies are engaged in research and further development of these technologies for tomorrow's markets and applications. However, access by SMEs is difficult. The European project SmartEEs - Smart Emerging Electronics Servicing works on the establishment of a European innovation network, which supports both the access to competences as well as the support of the enterprises with the assumption of innovations and the progress up to the commercialization.

It surrounds us and almost unconsciously accompanies us through everyday life - printed electronics. It starts with smart labels or RFID tags in clothing, we...

Im Focus: Energy-saving new LED phosphor

The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.

Light emitting diodes or LEDs are only able to produce light of a certain colour. However, white light can be created using different colour mixing processes.

Im Focus: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-efficiency thermoelectric materials: New insights into tin selenide

25.04.2019 | Materials Sciences

Salish seafloor mapping identifies earthquake and tsunami risks

25.04.2019 | Earth Sciences

Using DNA templates to harness the sun's energy

25.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>