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Surprising discovery: The skin communicates with the liver
Date:12/6/2013

ss could be the reason why the mice accumulated fat in the liver and became weak when weaned from their mother", says Ditte Neess.

To clarify this, the researchers made some mice that lacked the fat binding protein only in the skin. Similar to the full knockouts these mice had difficulties after weaning and accumulated fat in the liver. So this showed that the lack of the fat-binding protein in the skin was sufficient to induce accumulation of fat in the liver.

To get to the bottom of how a defect in the skin "talks" to the liver, the researchers decided to cover the mice with vaseline. This would prevent water evaporating from the skin and thus stopping the heat loss. As a result the fat accumulation in the liver disappeared. But as vaseline contains fat, that could theoretically be absorbed by the skin or ingested by the mice, the researchers were a little unsure if there were side effects from the vaseline. A student proposed to cover the mice with liquid latex, which she found in a local sex shop.

Having covered the mice in blue latex the researchers saw that fat accumulation in the liver again disappeared.

"We believe that the leaking of water from the skin makes the mice feel cold, and that this leads to breaking down of fat in their adipose (fat) tissue. The broken down fat is then moved to the liver. The mice move energy from the tissues to the liver", Susanne Mandrup and Ditte Neess explain.


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Contact: Birgitte Svennevig
birs@sdu.dk
University of Southern Denmark
Source:Eurekalert  

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