The fat cells of the body play an essential role in the storage of energy and its release when necessary. Research has shown that apart from energy storage, these adipocytes or fat cells also play a role in hormonal balance and metabolism-regulating hunger. A new study titled, “Systems-genetics-based inference of a core regulatory network underlying white fat browning”, was published in the latest issue of the journal Cell Report . Image Credit: Design_Cells/Shutterstock.com Fat Cells
A new study has shown that genes play a role in the browning of white fat in the body. There are three types of fat cells within the body say, experts – white, brown and beige/brite. White fat cells mainly store energy, while brown and beige fat cells can convert the energy stored within them into heat. Brite cells are commonly found in the inguinal region of the body around the genitalia. This is called non-shivering thermogenesis, therefore, brown fat is vital for certain mammals and newborn human babies in preserving the body heat, maintaining the temperature at stable levels.
According to lead author of the study, Professor Klingenspor, Chair of Molecular Nutritional Science at the TUM Else Kröner-Fresenius Center, “Adipocytes are not merely an energy storage for times of deprivation, but they also release hormones into the blood, regulating our metabolism as well as feelings of hunger and satiety through the brain and other organs. Nevertheless, too much of a good thing causes harm.” He went on to explain that different people have varying levels of brown and beige fat cells and those with a high number of brown fat cells have a smaller risk of becoming obese and developing metabolic disorders. Some individuals, he explained may develop beige fat cells within the white fat cells and this can provide health benefits. This is termed as brite adipogenesis, he said. Browning of fat cells
This new study shows a genetic difference among those with more browning of white fat. Klingenspor added, “We want to understand how thermogenic fat cells develop; so how beige fat cells grow inside white fat tissue.” He explained that as white fat cells are converted into beige ones, they transform from an organ that stored energy, to become an organ that can spend the energy in the form of heat, thus improving the metabolism reducing the risk of metabolic diseases and obesity. The study
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