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Jun 13, 2020

Researchers identify new approach to turning on the heat in energy-burning fat cells

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Researchers have discovered a new set of signals that cells send and receive to prompt one type of fat cell to convert fat into heat. The signaling pathway, discovered in mice, has potential implications for activating this same type of thermogenic fat in humans.

Thermogenic fat , also called beige fat or beige adipocytes, have gained attention in recent years for their potential to curb obesity and other metabolic disorders, due to their ability to burn energy stored as fat. But scientists have yet to translate this potential into effective therapies.

The challenge of activating beige fat in humans arises, in part, because this process is regulated through so-called adrenergic signaling, which uses the hormone catecholamine to instruct beige fat cells to start burning energy. But adrenergic signaling also controls other important biological functions, including and heartbeat regulation, so activating it in humans with agonists has potentially dangerous side effects.

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