Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UGA Researchers First To Determine That Leptin Causes Death Of Fat Cells

Date:
October 22, 1997
Source:
University of Georgia
Summary:
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia are the first to determine that the hormone leptin causes the programmed death of fat cells rather than simply reducing them in size.

ATHENS, Ga. -- A team of researchers at the University of Georgia arethe first to determine that the hormone leptin causes the programmed death offat cells rather than simply reducing them in size.

Their discovery helps explain why rats injected with leptin stay thinlong after treatment has stopped, and could play a significant role in the useof leptin for the treatment of obesity, according to Clifton A. Baile,distinguished professor of foods and nutrition and animal science at UGA.

Research on leptin has exploded in the two years since it was firstdiscovered by Rockefeller University researchers. The hormone is produced by thebody's fat cells and travels through the blood stream to the brain. Animalstreated with leptin eat less, lose weight and expend energy at a higher rate.

Pharmaceutical companies have invested hundreds of millions in researchon the use of leptin to treat obesity and it's expected that leptin-basedmedication will be available within five years.

The UGA team's findings about leptin's effect on fat cells began afterthe arrival of Dr. Hao Qian (pronounced Hall Chin), a post-doctoral fellow whojoined UGA a year ago after spending several months researching apoptosis --programmed death -- of cells in the spinal cord following spinal-cord injuries.

In general, apoptosis is a routine process that occurs in most tissues.It is what causes leaves to fall from the trees in autumn and how the bodyeliminates diseased or unnecessary cells, such as a mother's milk-secretingmammary cells after a baby is weaned.

Apoptosis was first introduced in the scientific literature in 1972;however, extensive research on the role it plays in a variety of organismsdidn't begin until 1992, which explains why Qian's hypothesis about leptin'srole in the destruction of fat cells was so novel.

"When Hao first suggested that the fat cells' reaction to leptin lookedlike apoptosis, we didn't think he was right," Baile said. However, the teamdeveloped a series of experiments to test the hypothesis.

In their research, the UGA scientists injected one group of rats withleptin, a second group was placed on a low-calorie diet, while a third was givennormal amounts of food and not treated with leptin.

In comparing the DNA of the fat cells of rats treated with leptin andthe control groups, the fat cells of the leptin-treated rats clearly showedapoptosis. The DNA of the rats on the low-calorie diet and the control groupfailed to show any signs of apoptosis.

"The only cells affected in the leptin-treated rats were the fat cells,"Baile said. "Cells in the liver, kidney and heart, as well as both smooth andskeletal muscle were not affected. This was true in male and female rats, youngrats and older rats.

"A problem with most treatments for obesity is that once the treatmentis stopped, the individual begins gaining weight almost immediately," Baileexplained. "However, with leptin, that's not the case."

Baile said it takes weeks for the leptin-treated rats to recover the fatthey lose.

"We have had trouble finding any fat cells in rats within five days oftreatment," he said.

The scientists will present their results Oct. 27-28 in San Diego at theAnnual Conference on Apoptosis. Some of the research also was presented at aSeptember workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that focusedon the brain and fat cells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Georgia. "UGA Researchers First To Determine That Leptin Causes Death Of Fat Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971021224959.htm>.
University of Georgia. (1997, October 22). UGA Researchers First To Determine That Leptin Causes Death Of Fat Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971021224959.htm
University of Georgia. "UGA Researchers First To Determine That Leptin Causes Death Of Fat Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971021224959.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins