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New stem cell research could aid in battle against bulging waistlines
Date:6/16/2011

Innovative adult stem cell research by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) could aid efforts to apply the brakes to stem cells that produce the type of fat ringing the waists of millions. Research appeared today online ahead of the print issue of Cell Stem Cell.

The scientists have developed a bold approach for targeting fat-generating stem cells that one day could aid in the delivery of drugs that slow the cells' ability to direct fat expansion. Because these cells are also used in regenerative medicine, this approach may have wide applications. The cells are termed adipose stem cells.

The researchers used small artificial proteins (peptides) in a mouse model to identify a marker on the surface of adipose stem cells. Markers are molecules specifically expressed on individual cell types. The scientists screened about 100 billion peptides before finding one that was specific for mouse and human adipose stem cells.

"This marker, called delta-decorin, is specifically expressed on the surface of adipose stem cells, which are responsible for the production of white adipose tissue," said Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D., the study's senior author and assistant professor of molecular medicine at the UTHealth Medical School. "This is the first prospective marker to be discovered for this particular type of adult stem cell."

Alexes Daquinag, Ph.D., the study's first author and postdoctoral fellow at the UTHealth Medical School, said, "In obesity, you have an overgrowth of white adipose tissue. It is made of adipocytes (fat cells) and one way to stop obesity is to target the progenitor cells adipose stem cells."

Kolonin added, "The existing approaches to identify adipose stem cells are based on combinations of semi-specific markers and are unreliable. Now we are able to target these cells with a new peptide probe for the purpose of tracing them in the body or controlled eliminati
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Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

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