Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The fat stopper: Protein that regulates the creation of fat cells identified

Date:
April 23, 2012
Source:
University of Deleware
Summary:
A student may have found the key to keep fat cells from forming. He believes he has identified the trigger that turns a stem cell into a fat cell. Located on the surface of cells, the trigger, a protein called endoglin, regulates what type of cell an existing stem cell will become.

This image shows cells that were stained with Oil Red O stain. The red shows lipid droplets that are characteristic of fat cells.
Credit: University of Delaware

Biological sciences major Adam Reese may have found the key to keep fat cells from forming.

The University of Delaware junior believes he has identified the trigger that turns a stem cell into a fat cell. Located on the surface of cells, the trigger -- a protein called endoglin -- regulates what type of cell an existing stem cell will become.

Working in the UD Department of Biological Sciences' laboratory of cellular signaling and dynamics with assistant professor Anja Nohe, Reese investigates ways to combat osteoporosis. His findings may also have implications for obesity.

Patients afflicted with osteoporosis lose bone mass as they age. Bone is a dynamic tissue, constantly renewed by removal or reabsorption of old bone and formation of new bone. Through this cellular remodeling process, roughly one-fifth of an adult's skeleton is replaced each year. Of the limited treatments developed to reduce bone loss, most have potentially serious side effects, are cost prohibitive, or are difficult to use.

Reese, with the help of graduate student Joyita Dutta, found that the amount of endoglin on a cell's surface indicates whether the cell will become a fat cell or a bone cell.

"What would happen if you could make the cell stop making the protein?" Reese said. "You could affect whether or not it's even a fat cell."

If the amount of endoglin on the cell surface could be decreased, the amount of cells turning into bone would rise, leading to an increase in bone strength, thus ending osteoporosis.

"I didn't really expect it. I expected the data would be the other way around," said Nohe, Reese's undergraduate research adviser. "It's very exciting."

According to Nohe, researchers did not previously know if endoglin was the key controlling the cells' change or if it was just a marker. She believes Reese's data shows endoglin is the driver, and pinpointing that could lead to a cure.

"Now we have a target that we could hit," she said.

The next step is to pinpoint the signaling pathway the cell is using and determine how to block it.

Reese believes the same approach might work with fat cells -- decreasing the amount of endoglin on the surface of fat cells could force those cells to transform into other cell types. The resulting treatments could potentially cure obesity.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology selected an abstract of Reese's work for its annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2012 in San Diego, a multidisciplinary scientific meeting expected to draw 14,000 scientifically-minded attendees.

Facts about osteoporosis

  • Impacts 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men aged 50 plus.
  • Impacts 90 percent of women and 33 percent of men aged 75 plus.
  • 300,000 osteoporosis-related fractures occur each year.
  • 24 percent of those patients die within one year of the fracture.
  • More women die each year from osteoporosis than die from breast and ovarian cancers combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Facts about obesity

  • One out of every three American adults is obese.
  • An obese person costs $1,429 more in health care costs per year compared to a non-obese adult, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Deleware. The original article was written by Andrea Boyle Tippett. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Deleware. "The fat stopper: Protein that regulates the creation of fat cells identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423162355.htm>.
University of Deleware. (2012, April 23). The fat stopper: Protein that regulates the creation of fat cells identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423162355.htm
University of Deleware. "The fat stopper: Protein that regulates the creation of fat cells identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423162355.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

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
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. 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