Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Calorie-burning brown fat is a potential obesity treatment, researchers say

Date:
June 19, 2011
Source:
The Endocrine Society
Summary:
A new study suggests that many adults have large amounts of brown fat, the "good" fat that burns calories to keep us warm, and that it may be possible to make even more of this tissue.

A new study suggests that many adults have large amounts of brown fat, the "good" fat that burns calories to keep us warm, and that it may be possible to make even more of this tissue.

The study's lead author, Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, is presenting the results at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

"We are now even more optimistic that brown fat could be used for treating obesity and diabetes," said Cypess, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

Cypess heads the research team that two years ago published a study showing that brown fat is present in adults, not just in infants and small mammals, as scientists had thought. Although most adult fat is calorie-storing white fat, most adults have some brown fat in an area extending from the front of the neck to the chest, he reported at The Endocrine Society's meeting in 2009.

Now they have learned that brown fat cells lie in deeper fat, not superficial fat, and that the number of regions of brown fat varies by person, Cypess reported. They discovered this by measuring the expression of a protein found exclusively in brown fat, called uncoupling protein-1. However, even in those regions where many brown fat cells are present, they are mixed with white fat cells.

"It's a marbling at the cellular level," Cypess said. "We wondered: Wouldn't it be nice if you could grow more brown fat? The answer is yes."

In their new study, the researchers succeeded in growing mature human brown fat cells from preadipocytes, or pre-fat cells, that they obtained from a fresh sample of brown fat taken from the neck of a patient having routine surgery. The process took about two weeks in a laboratory dish but likely occurs more quickly in the body, Cypess said.

"Some of these preadipocytes may have the choice to become either white or brown fat," he said.

In another experiment, Cypess and his colleagues measured how many calories brown fat burns. To do so, they measured the fat cells' oxygen consumption rate in both cultures and surgical tissue samples from volunteers.

"We demonstrated that brown fat burns up a substantial number of calories," Cypess said. "We have an organ in our body whose job it is to generate heat and burn calories."

Although Cypess said stimulating the growth of additional brown fat may be a promising treatment of obesity, it cannot replace traditional approaches such as diet and exercise. He said, "As powerful as brown fat could be at burning calories, we can easily out-eat the benefit."

The National Institutes of Health and the Eli Lilly Foundation funded this study.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

The Endocrine Society. "Calorie-burning brown fat is a potential obesity treatment, researchers say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606092522.htm>.
The Endocrine Society. (2011, June 19). Calorie-burning brown fat is a potential obesity treatment, researchers say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606092522.htm
The Endocrine Society. "Calorie-burning brown fat is a potential obesity treatment, researchers say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606092522.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. 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