Navigation Links
'Love handles' melt away at the push of a button

For a long time, scientists have dreamt of converting undesirable white fat cells into brown fat cells and thus simply have excess pounds melt away. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now gotten a step closer to this goal: They decoded a "toggle switch" in mice which can significantly stimulate fat burning. The results are now being presented in the scientifc journal "Nature Communications".

Many people not only in industrialized nations struggle with excess weight - but all fat is not alike. "Love handles" in particular contain troublesome white fat cells which store excess food. Brown fat cells are the exact opposite: they burn excess energy as the desirable "heaters" of the body. Scientists at the University of Bonn working with Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer, Director of the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology, have spent years using animal models to explore how the undesirable white fat can be converted into sought-after brown fat. "In this way, excess pounds may be able to simply be melted away and obesity combated", says Prof. Pfeifer.

A kind of "trigger switch" spurs fat burning

The researchers have now decoded a "microRNA switch" in mice which is important for brown fat cells. Micro-RNAs are located in the genome of cells and very quickly and efficiently regulate gene activity. The researchers studied a specific microRNA: microRNA 155. The gene regulator micro-RNA 155 inhibits a certain transcription factor, that controls brown fat cell function. Surprisingly, Prof. Pfeifer and his team found that the transcription factor also regulates the levels microRNA 155 establishing a tight feed-back loop that works like a toggle switch: When the microRNA is highly expressed brown fat cell differentiation is blocked; conversely, if the transcription factor wins the upper hand, brown fat is produced at an increased level and this in turn boosts fat burning in the body.

In knockout mice, the gene for Micro-RNA 155 was silent

The researchers at Bonn University and their colleagues from the Federal Institute of Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and from the University of Regensburg worked with so-called transgenic and knockout mice in whom the gene for micro-RNA 155 was either increased or silenced. "The mechanism was already set in motion when the micro-RNA 155 was only halved in the mice," reports lead author Yong Chen, graduate student of the NRW International Graduate School BIOTECH-PHARMA. The mice then had significantly more brown fat cells available than did the control gro up - and had even converted white fat cells into brown fat cells.

Clues to the causes of lipid metabolism diseases

The micro-RNA functions as an antagonist to the brown fat cells. "As long as enough micro-RNA 155 is present, the production of brown fat cells is blocked," says Chen. Only if it falls below a certain proportion does this brake let up; the blueprint for brown fat can be read and implemented by the cell - the desired fat burners can develop. These findings help scientists better understand the causes of lipid metabolism diseases.

Hope for new therapies against obesity

The scientists at the University of Bonn see in their results a potential starting point for drugs to combat obesity. The researchers have clues to the fact that the results, if anything, can be transferred from mice to humans. Thus, for example, researchers in Leipzig found increased levels of micro-RNA 155 in significantly overweight patients. This corresponds to findings from animal models: A lot of micro-RNA 155 is associated with reduced fat burning. "However, we are still in the basic research stage," says Prof. Pfeifer. The path to suitable drugs is still a long one.


Contact: Dr. Alexander Pfeifer
University of Bonn

Related medicine news :

1. Nails Need Love, Too
2. Battle for Grace: A Memoir of Pain, Redemption and Impossible Love
3. Fantasy Lover Formula: Review Examining System To Become "Her Fantasy Lover" Released
4. Lung Cancer Asbestos Victims Center Now Urges Families Of A Retired Factory Worker To Call Them If Their Loved One Has Lung Cancer And Was Exposed To Asbestos At Work
5. Audiences in Beijing Packed Auditoriums to See a Love Documentary - Real Story of an Unorthodox Matchmaker
6. Love, Men, and Money, a Humorous Self-help Book on Relationships for Women, is Now Available on Kindle
7. Lung Cancer Asbestos Victims Center Now Urges Families of Nonsmoker Lung Cancer Victims To Call Them If Their Loved One Was Exposed To Asbestos In Their Workplace
8. Targeted Equine Nutrition Launches New Website For Horse Lovers
9. Jacent M Mpalyenkana, has Published a Humorous Self-Help Book on Relationships for Women Titled, Love, Men, and Money
10. Lung Cancer Asbestos Victims Center Now Urges Families To Help Them Identify A Nonsmoker Loved One Who Had Exposure To Asbestos In The Workplace And Now Has Lung Cancer
11. Norah Guide Offers Post Valentine Zodiac Love Blueprint – Premium Astrology Love Guide
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Newly reviewed and approved “NJ ... graduated from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1935. His father graduated from ... family being in dentistry as well as their commitment and passion to the Practice ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The ... National Poison Data System (NPDS) reveals that in 2014, someone called a poison ... over two million of which were human exposure cases. , The American Association ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... Two years ago, Debbie Gregory, the CEO of, found herself ... Meditation (TM). After encouraging a number of veterans to go through the program, ... the talk. , TM is becoming one of the best alternative treatments for Post-Traumatic ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) announced today that it has launched ... ASCP shared its “Give a minute. Get tested. Find a cure.” icon and infographic ... tested for HIV. , ASCP has asked members to replace their Facebook, Twitter, or ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Beach, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... of Consumer Reports magazine, quoted Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumer ... and even more so for a child’s exposure limits. , The original Nov ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... REHOVOT, Israel , Nov. 30, 2015 ... focused on acquiring and developing innovative therapies for ear, ... of Keith A. Katkin as chairman of ... Flesher , chief executive officer for OticPharma, Ltd.  "Keith ... As chairman, he will be able to share this ...
(Date:11/29/2015)...  Strengthening its leadership in connected healthcare informatics, ... IntelliSpace Portal 8.0 , the latest edition of ... helps radiologists detect, diagnose and follow-up on treatment of ... North America Annual Meeting (RSNA) in ... the changing demands in radiology that result from an ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... GE Health Cloud 1 was unveiled today at the ... America (RSNA) meeting in Chicago ... ecosystem and its applications will connect radiologists and clinicians to ... – both inside and outside the hospital setting. ... the digital industrial leader, we are betting big on the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: