Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trigger turns muscle stem cells into brown fat: Discovery identifies potential obesity treatment

Date:
February 5, 2013
Source:
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Summary:
Scientists in Canada have discovered a trigger that turns muscle stem cells into brown fat, a form of good fat that could play a critical role in the fight against obesity.

Ottawa scientists have discovered a trigger that turns muscle stem cells into brown fat, a form of good fat that could play a critical role in the fight against obesity. The findings from Dr. Michael Rudnicki's lab, based at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, were published today in the journal Cell Metabolism.

"This discovery significantly advances our ability to harness this good fat in the battle against bad fat and all the associated health risks that come with being overweight and obese," says Dr. Rudnicki, a senior scientist and director for the Regenerative Medicine Program and Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is also a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics and professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Globally, obesity is the fifth leading risk for death, with an estimated 2.8 million people dying every year from the effects of being overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organization. The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that 25% of Canadian adults are obese.

In 2007, Dr. Rudnicki led a team that was the first to prove the existence of adult skeletal muscle stem cells. In the paper published today, Dr. Rudnicki now shows (again for the first time) that these adult muscle stem cells not only have the ability to produce muscle fibres, but also to become brown fat. Brown fat is an energy-burning tissue that is important to the body's ability to keep warm and regulate temperature. In addition, more brown fat is associated with less obesity.

Perhaps more importantly, the paper identifies how adult muscle stem cells become brown fat. The key is a small gene regulator called microRNA-133, or miR-133. When miR-133 is present, the stem cells turn into muscle fibre; when reduced, the stem cells become brown fat.

Dr. Rudnicki's lab showed that adult mice injected with an agent to reduce miR-133, called an antisense oligonucleotide or ASO, produced more brown fat, were protected from obesity and had an improved ability to process glucose. In addition, the local injection into the hind leg muscle led to increased energy production throughout the body -- an effect observed after four months.

Using an ASO to treat disease by reducing the levels of specific microRNAs is a method that is already in human clinical trials. However, a potential treatment using miR-133 to combat obesity is still years away.

"While we are very excited by this breakthrough, we acknowledge that it's a first step," says Dr. Rudnicki, who is also scientific director of the Stem Cell Network. "There are still many questions to be answered, such as: Will it help adults who are already obese to lose weight? How should it be administered? How long do the effects last? Are there adverse effects we have not observed yet?"

The full article, "MicroRNA-133 Controls Brown Adipose Determination in Skeletal Muscle Satellite Cells by Targeting Prdm16," was published by Cell Metabolism online ahead of print on February 5, 2013. The article's authors are: Hang Yin, Alessandra Pasut, Vahab D. Soleimani, C. Florian Bentzinger, Ghadi Antoun, Stephanie Thorn, Patrick Seale, Pasan Fernando, Wilfred van IJcken, Frank Grosveld, Robert A. Dekemp, Robert Boushel, Mary-Ellen Harper, and Michael A. Rudnicki.

This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health, the Stem Cell Network, the Ontario Research Fund and EuTRACC, a European Commission 6th Framework grant. It was a collaboration that included researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Nordion, Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands and University of Copenhagen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hang Yin, Alessandra Pasut, VahabD. Soleimani, C.Florian Bentzinger, Ghadi Antoun, Stephanie Thorn, Patrick Seale, Pasan Fernando, Wilfred vanIJcken, Frank Grosveld, RobertA. Dekemp, Robert Boushel, Mary-Ellen Harper, MichaelA. Rudnicki. MicroRNA-133 Controls Brown Adipose Determination in Skeletal Muscle Satellite Cells by Targeting Prdm16. Cell Metabolism, 2013; 17 (2): 210 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.01.004

Cite This Page:

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. "Trigger turns muscle stem cells into brown fat: Discovery identifies potential obesity treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205123654.htm>.
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. (2013, February 5). Trigger turns muscle stem cells into brown fat: Discovery identifies potential obesity treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205123654.htm
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. "Trigger turns muscle stem cells into brown fat: Discovery identifies potential obesity treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205123654.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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