Injection with the newly discovered fat cell progenitors reversed the animals' diabetes and restored their fat levels within two weeks, they report.
Rodeheffer said that there are likely to be analogous cells in humans. If so, those cells might be used in a similar manner to treat people with lipodystrophy. The cells left over when you remove fat cells from fat tissue are also being explored for use in regenerating heart and other tissues, he noted.
" Fat is an attractive source for adult stem cells because it is readily available and easy to obtain via liposuction," Rodeheffer said. "You can imagine plenty of people would be willing donors."
The researchers also found that the specific precursor cells that were isolated in the new study, when placed under the proper experimental conditions, can also form bone, muscle, and cartilage in addition to fat. The cell therefore might also prove useful for a variety of other tissue-regenerating applications.
But the real key, according to Rodeheffer, comes back to fat biology. "We need to understand what controls the proliferation of fat cell precursors as a prelude to understanding how the number of fat cells increases during the development of obesity."
|Contact: Cathleen Genova|