Keeping Fat Cells from Getting Fatter
Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered how a molecule called Sfrp5 sends signals that make fat cells keep getting fatter. Their findings, published online in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, came as a surprise and may lead to the development of new medications aimed at controlling weight gain.
The team, led by Ormond MacDougald, a member of the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Michigan, was able to stop the adipocyte cells, from making Sfrep5. The result was that the mice being studied didn't pack on pounds even though they were fed a high-fat diet.
As always when studies are done on animals, conclusions are preliminary until testing is done on people. Even so, the scientists are optimistic that their work may help in the continuing battle against the obesity epidemic.
The work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and by Mori’s mentor-based postdoctoral fellowship from the American Diabetes Association.