Where fat comes from determines whether the body can metabolize it effectively. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that the "old" fat stored in the bodys peripheral tissues -- that is, around the belly, thighs or bottom -- cant be burned efficiently unless "new" fat is eaten in the diet or made in the liver.
The research team developed genetically engineered mice missing an important fat synthesizing enzyme in the liver. As a result, the mice, called FASKOL mice (Fatty Acid Synthase KnockOut in Liver), could not produce new fatty acids in the liver. Because liver fatty acids are vital for maintaining normal sugar, fat and cholesterol metabolism, these mice must take in dietary fat to remain healthy.
Reporting in the May issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, the researchers say these mice developed fatty liver disease when placed on a zero fat diet. "When we took dietary fat away from the FASKOL mice, their livers quickly filled with fat," says senior investigator Clay F. Semenkovich, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology. "Their old fat stores mobilized to the liver, but their livers could not initiate fat burning, and the fat just accumulated. We concluded that to regulate fat burning, the liver needs new fat."
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