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Chemical Injections for Fat Removal

Investigators at Georgetown University Medical Center have been able to use simple, non-toxic chemical injections to add and remove fat in targeted areas on the bodies of laboratory animals.

They say the discovery, published online in Nature Medicine on July 1, could revolutionize human cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery and treatment of diseases associated with human obesity.

Investigators say these findings may also, over the long-term, lead to better control of metabolic syndrome, which is a collection of risk factors that increase a patients chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Sixty million Americans were estimated to be affected by metabolic syndrome in 2000, according to a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control in 2004.

In the paper, the Georgetown researchers describe a mechanism they found by which stress activates weight gain in mice, and they say this pathway − which they were able to manipulate − may explain why people who are chronically stressed gain more weight than they should based on the calories they consume.

This pathway involves two players − a neurotransmitter (neuropeptide Y, or NPY) and the receptor (neuropeptide Y2 receptor, or Y2R) it activates in two types of cells in the fat tissue: endothelial cells lining blood vessels and fat cells themselves.

In order to add fat selectively to the mice they tested, researchers injected NPY into a specific area. The researchers found that both NPY and Y2R are activated during stress, leading to apple-shape obesity and metabolic syndrome. Both the weight gain and metabolic syndrome, however, were prevented by administration of Y2R blocker into the abdominal fat.

We couldnt believe such fat remodeling was possible, but the numerous different experiments conducted over four years demonstrated that it is, at least in mice; recent pilot data also suggest that a simi
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