Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Transplanting fat may be effective treatment for metabolic disease

Date:
September 11, 2013
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Transplanting fat may treat such inherited metabolic diseases as maple syrup urine disease by helping the body process the essential amino acids that these patients cannot, according to researchers.

Transplanting fat may treat such inherited metabolic diseases as maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) by helping the body process the essential amino acids that these patients cannot, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Related Articles


The researchers are targeting maple syrup urine disease because it disproportionately affects the Amish and Mennonites who reside in the central Pennsylvania communities surrounding the College of Medicine and its hospital, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The team transplanted up to two grams of fat into either abdomens or backs of mice genetically engineered to have MSUD. When fat was transplanted in the back of the MSUD mice, amino acids levels decreased considerably compared to non-transplanted MSUD mice. The fat was either cut into small pieces or minced into fine pieces, with no noticeable difference in results.

The procedure does not work in the abdomen and instead resulted in inflammation and the transplanted fat not forming blood vessels or attaching properly. Results were published recently in the journal Molecular Genetics and Metabolism.

The procedure may be effective for other inherited metabolic diseases, including phenylketonuria and organic acidurias, said Christopher Lynch, professor of cellular and molecular physiology, lead researcher.

"While individually these diseases are relatively rare, inherited metabolic diseases are sufficiently common that they are part of newborn screening in Pennsylvania and most other states," Lynch said.

The body uses amino acids to make proteins and breaks down amino acids to create energy. Patients with maple syrup urine disease cannot fully metabolize three branched chain amino acids. In MSUD patients, the process of breaking down the amino acids begins but cannot be completed.

This leads to accumulation of the amino acids and their initial metabolic by-products to toxic levels resulting in, without treatment, to loss of appetite, crying, seizures, coma and death. These products build up to such levels in these patients that they form crystals in the urine and give the urine a burnt sugar smell, hence the name of the disease.

Since amino acids are needed and cannot be fully removed from the diet, standard treatment for MSUD requires a specialized diet that limits meat and dairy. Even with careful diet, patients with MSUD are in danger of experiencing coma or seizures in response to stressful situations or when they have an infection.

A recent advance in the treatment of this disease isliver transplant, which provides sufficient metabolic capacity for many patients to resume a normal diet. While this experimental therapy works well, there is a shortage of donor livers and the cost is estimated to be upward of $500,000 during the first year of treatment.

Researchers will now try to refine the use of fat for the best results.

"We're taking lessons from plastic surgeons to see how much and how best to transplant the fat," Lynch said. "We found that injecting more fat didn't mean better results. When we increased the fat injected from one to two grams, it did not lower the amino acid levels further. So injecting less fat may help blood vessels develop through the fat, helping to circulate more of the amino acids through the transplanted tissue."

Researchers are also looking into the use of adult stem cells mixed with the transplanted fat to help with replenishment. In other kinds of transplants, stem cells also reduce rejection.

"We now need to look through the existing arsenal of transplant drugs to see which ones are most compatible with fat transplant and adult adipose regenerative stem cell growth and fat cell conversion," Lynch said.

Lynch's team believes that it may be easier to get fat donors compared to other organs and that fat transplant operations would be far less expensive than other kinds of transplants. Alternatively, it could be a bridging therapy before liver transplant.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Heather A. Zimmerman, Kristine C. Olson, Gang Chen, Christopher J. Lynch. Adipose transplant for inborn errors of branched chain amino acid metabolism in mice. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 2013; 109 (4): 345 DOI: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2013.05.010

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Transplanting fat may be effective treatment for metabolic disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911114735.htm>.
Penn State. (2013, September 11). Transplanting fat may be effective treatment for metabolic disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911114735.htm
Penn State. "Transplanting fat may be effective treatment for metabolic disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911114735.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 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