07 February 2013

You can fight fat with fat

Canadian scientists from the Research Institute, part of the structure of the Ottawa Clinical Hospital, working under the leadership of Dr. Michael Radnicki, identified a molecular mechanism that triggers the differentiation of muscle stem cells into brown fat cells.

Brown fat is a type of adipose tissue that plays an important role in maintaining a constant body temperature, especially in infants. Moreover, a greater amount of brown fat in the body is associated with a lower probability of the appearance of excess fat deposits, so the authors believe that the mechanism they discovered may be an effective method of combating obesity, which in recent years has become one of the main problems for public health around the world.

In 2007, Dr. Radnicki and his colleagues confirmed for the first time the existence of stem cells in the skeletal muscles of adults. In their latest work, they demonstrated that the differentiation potential of these cells is not limited to the ability to turn into muscle fibers.

The most important finding of the researchers is the deciphering of the mechanism that ensures the transformation of muscle stem cells into brown fat.

The key component turned out to be microRNA-133, at high concentrations of which stem cells differentiate into muscle fibers, and at low concentrations – into brown fat cells.

Experiments on mice have shown that the local introduction of antisense oligonucleotide into the muscle of the hind leg of animals, selectively reducing the content of microRNA-133, stimulated the formation of brown fat, prevented the development of obesity, and also increased the efficiency of glucose uptake by animal tissues and the level of energy production throughout the body.

The image obtained using a thermographic camera 4 months after the procedure shows that mice injected with an antisense oligonucleotide reducing the level of microRNA-133 (right) are significantly thinner than control group animals (left).

Moreover, the temperature of the paw into which the injection was made (the left paw) is 0.8 ° C higher than the temperature of the corresponding paw of the control animal.

The effectiveness of the administration of antisense oligonucleotides that reduce the levels of specific microRNAs for the treatment of various diseases is currently being tested in several clinical studies.

However, the authors acknowledge that, despite the impressive results, their experiments are only the first step on the long road to using microRNA-133 for the treatment of obesity in humans.

Article by Hang Yin et al. microRNA-133 Controls Brown Adipose Determination in Skeletal Muscle Satellite Cells by Targeting Prdm16 published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute:
Fighting fat with fat: stem cell discovery identifies potential obesity treatment.


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