Fighting Obesity with…Fat?

Fighting Obesity with…Fat?

March 19th, 2013 by rosenoec · No Comments · Chemistry

Brown fat cells, not white fat cells, make heat for the body, and are thought to have evolved to keep animals from getting cold.  Scientists are finding that keeping people and animals warm may not be the only thing brown fat cells can do; their ability to generate warmth can also be applied to coping with obesity and diabetes.  Patrick Seale, PhD studies which proteins guide the development, differentiation, and function of fat cells.  He and Sona Rajakumari, PhD, along with Jun Wu from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have found a protein switch called early B cell factor-2 (Ebf2), that determines the developmental path cells take: brown or white.  ”Brown fat cells are the professional heat-producing cells of the body,” says Seale.  Because of this, they protect against obesity and diabetes.  This is how it works: brown fat cells burn off excess energy stored in lipid (while white fat cells store energy).

Obesity and diabetes are everywhere, and no one can say that they aren’t a problem.  This new breakthrough may be what can get rid of obesity and diabetes for good.  Scientists should keep studying the behaviors of brown fat cells, and hopefully someday the numbers of obese and diabetic people can decrease.

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