Mouse study suggests that where the fat is stored is key
FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity doesn't mean a person is destined to develop diabetes, experiments in mice suggest. Instead, it may all depend on where the fat is stored.
Mice that overate and were very obese still didn't become diabetic, because the activity of two hormones let them store extra calories in fat tissue rather than in their livers or heart muscle.
"What this mouse model shows is what we have appreciated clinically for a while," said lead researcher Philipp Scherer, a professor of internal medicine and director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
"Basically, it shows that for individuals who have the ability to expand their adipose [fat] tissue mass appropriately for the number of calories they take up, those individuals fare much better than someone who has a more reduced capacity to expand their adipose tissue," Scherer said.
If fat isn't stored in the adipose tissue, it ends up in the liver and muscles. That, in turn, causes significant insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes, Scherer explained.
In their experiments, Scherer's team showed that in genetically altered mice, an excess of adiponectin, a hormone linked to sensitivity to insulin, and a deficiency in leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, causes the mice to store excess calories in fat tissue instead of in liver, heart or muscle tissues, according to the report in the Aug. 23 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Scherer noted that in people as in mice, where fat is stored is largely determined by genetics. "You have a lot of obese individuals who are not type 2 diabetics, and you have lean individuals that can be type 2 diabetics," he said. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, and it is most often tied to ov
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