While diet and exercise remain the gold standards of weight control, a new method is in the works, that manipulates the production of fat cells at their source. A new research report has shown that at least some human fat cells are actually produced from stem cells originating in bone marrow. Scientists hope that one day they’ll be able to manipulate the type or quantity of fat cells created to ultimately reduce the risk of diseases impacted by the presence of unhealthy fat, such as cardiovascular disease, types 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, pulmonary hypertension, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, asthma, kidney disease, some forms of cancer and maybe even obesity.
The researchers, from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, recruited human subjects who received bone marrow transplants for clinical reasons from a different human donor many months before the study. A small sample of fat tissue was removed from just under the skin in the area next to the belly button. The DNA was then evaluated to determine if it came from the donor or the recipient. They found the presence of donor DNA, indicating that some of the fat cells had grown from cells that originated in the transplanted bone marrow. Previous research with mice indicates that fat-storing cells produced from bone marrow stem cells may be particularly harmful, since they produce substances that promote inflammation and hinder the ability of other cells to respond to insulin.
According to the editor of THE FASEB JOURNAL, this study could help to unravel many of the mysteries that come with weight gain, weight loss and the effects of excessive fat on the body. The more that we can learn through this discovery, the closer we can permanently shut down the harmful effects of fat cells.
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