Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism that regulates production of energy-burning brown fat discovered

Date:
March 13, 2013
Source:
Joslin Diabetes Center
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a mechanism that regulates the production of brown fat, a type of fat which plays an important role in heat production and energy metabolism. The findings may lead to new therapies that increase BAT formation to treat obesity.

Joslin scientists have discovered a mechanism that regulates the production of brown fat, a type of fat which plays an important role in heat production and energy metabolism. The findings, which appear in the current issue of Nature, may lead to new therapies that increase BAT formation to treat obesity.

Related Articles


Two types of fat tissue are present in humans and other mammals: white adipose tissue (WAT) or white fat, which stores fat; and brown adipose tissue (BAT) or brown fat, which burns fat to produce heat. Brown fat also metabolizes glucose and fatty acids which is important in diabetes and metabolic diseases. Studies suggest that brown fat provides a natural defense against obesity: people with greater quantities of brown fat have lower body weights. This has made brown fat the focus of considerable interest among scientists and pharmaceutical companies looking for ways to treat obesity.

Joslin scientists in the Tseng Laboratory of the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism previously discovered that one type of bone morphogenetic protein, BMP-7, plays a key role in the control of brown fat formation and its heat-producing activity, which regulates whole body metabolism. In the present study, the scientists created a genetically mutant mouse model deficient in type 1A BMP-receptor (BMPR1A), a key receptor for BMP-7 which has been shown to be associated with obesity in human populations.

Mice have two types of BAT: constitutive BAT (cBAT), which develops before birth; and recruitable BAT (rBAT), which is found in WAT and skeletal muscle. Humans may also have two types of BAT.

The mice lacking BMPR1A were born with a deficiency of cBAT. Despite their lack of cBAT, the mutant mice were able to "maintain their body temperature perfectly," says senior author Yu-Hua Tseng, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Principal Faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and an Investigator in the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism.

The scientists discovered that when cBAT is deficient, cBAT cells send a signal through the sympathetic nervous system to increase production of rBAT within white fat. This study is the first to report this cross-talk between these two types of brown fat. The increased rBAT was sufficient to maintain normal body temperature and also protect against diet-induced obesity: When the control and mutant mice were fed a high-fat diet, the mutant mice did not gain more weight than the control mice.

Until this study, it was not known why a body needs two types of BAT and how they interact with each other. "These results show us that brown fat is essential for normal functioning. When one type of brown fat is deficient, the body has a sophisticated system for inducing development of the other type of brown fat to maintain body temperature and metabolism," says Dr. Tseng.

Tseng Laboratory scientists are interested in learning more about the function of human brown fat cells, including whether humans have two types of BAT, and understanding how BMP and related factors affect human brown fat production. "We would like to translate this research to develop treatments for diabetes and obesity. This new type of therapy would be especially beneficial to individuals who cannot lose weight through diet or have a limited ability to exercise," says Dr. Tseng.

The paper's lead author is Tim Schulz, a postdoctoral scientist in the Tseng Laboratory. Other contributors include Tian Lian Huang, Ruidan Xue, Lindsay McDougall, Kristy Townsend and Aaron Cypess of Joslin; Yuji Mishina of the University of Michigan; and Ping Huang and Emanuela Gussoni of Children's Hospital, Boston.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Eli Lilly Research Foundation and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Tim J. Schulz, Ping Huang, Tian Lian Huang, Ruidan Xue, Lindsay E. McDougall, Kristy L. Townsend, Aaron M. Cypess, Yuji Mishina, Emanuela Gussoni, Yu-Hua Tseng. Brown-fat paucity due to impaired BMP signalling induces compensatory browning of white fat. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature11943

Cite This Page:

Joslin Diabetes Center. "Mechanism that regulates production of energy-burning brown fat discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313160754.htm>.
Joslin Diabetes Center. (2013, March 13). Mechanism that regulates production of energy-burning brown fat discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313160754.htm
Joslin Diabetes Center. "Mechanism that regulates production of energy-burning brown fat discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313160754.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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