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 Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal
14.11.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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 Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>