New ways to accelerate fat burning

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Researchers develop new approach to obesity treatment

Scientists from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn have developed a new approach that is to accelerate fat burning and thus reduce existing excess weight. By converting white fat cells into brown and beige, the excess love handles can be effectively combated, the researchers report.

In infants, brown fat cells act as a kind of heating unit that prevents the babies from cooling down. “The brown adipose tissue contains so-called mitochondria, mini power plants, which among other things contain fat burn can, ”explained the researchers led by Professor Dr. Alexander Pfeifer from the University of Bonn. According to the experts, the mitochondria generate “voltage similar to a battery, which in turn supplies the energy for cellular processes.” In the brown fat cells, however, the mitochondria have a short circuit and are constantly running at full speed. The energy released is given off in the form of heat and helps to maintain body temperature. It has only recently become known that brown cells can also be found in the adult body, explained Prof. Dr. Piper. The scientists have “now found a new signaling pathway that stimulates the production and function of brown fat cells,” according to the University of Bonn. The results of the researchers were published in the journal "Science Signaling".

Accelerated fat burning through brown fat cells More and more people in Germany are struggling with weight problems. A lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet are the main causes. But instead of dieting and exercise, a conversion of the fat cells could be the weight loss program of choice in the future. The research team led by Prof. Pfeifer found out "which signals stimulate the body to produce brown fat cells" and thus identified the basis for accelerated fat burning. Usually, a large part of adipose tissue in adults is made up of white fat cells, which serve the body as long-term energy stores and are only slowly broken down. The brown fat cells, on the other hand, are only found in small areas on the neck and along the spine in adults.

Brown fat cells can help you lose weight If the "natural heating unit" of brown fat cells in adults can be switched on again, this could significantly accelerate fat burning and serve to break down unwanted fat deposits, report Pfeifer and colleagues. According to the researchers, 50 grams of active brown adipose tissue would be enough to increase resting energy consumption by 20 percent. "With the same diet and activity, the fat reserves would melt by five kilos a year," explained the study leader. This makes the "results interesting from a therapeutic point of view, too." According to the experts, "a signaling pathway that is controlled by the enzyme PKG is crucial for the formation of brown and beige fat cells from the stem cells of the adipose tissue." This switches off the mass production of Mitochondria and ensures the formation of UCP - the substance that causes the "short circuit" in the brown fat cells.

Tanning white fat to lose weight In the PKG signaling pathway, a certain phosphoprotein plays an essential role as a regulator that inhibits the formation of brown and beige fat cells. In experiments with genetically modified mice that were unable to produce the so-called vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), the researchers were able to demonstrate that more beige and brown fat cells are actually formed in this way. The animals were extremely slim and had a higher energy consumption, explained Prof. Here, it was possible to brown white fat, which means that the animals quickly lost excess fat and no new ones developed. According to the researchers, an inhibitor for VASP could potentially help you lose weight in the future. The formation of brown and beige fat cells could be promoted with the help of appropriate medications, which would increase fat burning and energy consumption, and the fat deposits of those affected would disappear, the experts explained. This would be one way to effectively treat obesity without diet and exercise. In addition to the pharmacologists from Bonn, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, the German Sport University in Cologne and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) were also involved in the study. (fp)

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