In 2012, researchers discovered “rice fat”, opening up a promising new avenue for advanced treatments for obesity,media New Atlas reported. “Rice fat” is a fatty tissue genetically distinct from white and brown fat that plays an important role in the way mammals consume calories. Now, a new study has found an immune cell that activates beige fat in mice and is shaping a potential treatment to speed up the human fat burning process.
“Simply put, white fat stores excess energy – the fat tissue we usually think of when it comes to fat,” explained lead author Dr Kate Quinlan of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia. “On the other hand, brown fat burns energy and generates heat in a process called heat production. This phenomenon is particularly important in infants and hibernating animals and has recently been shown in adults. Beige fat is a newly discovered energy-consuming fat that can appear in white adipose tissue and produce heat rather than energy storage. “
Since the discovery of beige fat, scientists have made extensive efforts to find ways to turn white fat into a healthier beige variant. Some possibilities include blocking the absorption of certain hormones or proteins, as well as the use of diabetes drugs or even Viagra. By studying mutant mice with anti-obesity abilities, the team at the University of New South Wales found another one.
The researchers’ observations of the mice found that their beige fat sashimi increased activity. They also found that they had more of a certain type of immune cell called eosinophils. These rare immune cells are associated with the body’s response to certain types of infections, but scientists also know that they live in fat and signal it, suggesting that they can also play a role in fat production.
One of the team’s experiments was to transplant immune cells from mutant mice into healthy mice. These healthy mice were then fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet, but in the end they became resistant to obesity, suggesting that eosinophils did play a protective role.
“In thin mice with beige fat, there are more eosinophils in the adipose tissue that have a unique gene expression spectrum,” Dr. Quinlan said. “We also found evidence that eosinophils secrete signaling molecules that are known to play a role in beige fat activation, providing a possible link between these mysterious immune cells and their beneficial functionin in adipose tissue. “
Researchers are continuing to explore the mysteries of eosinophils in an effort to understand what makes them able to drive the activation of beige fat, hoping to develop new treatments for obesity.
“The conversion of energy-stored white fat into energy-burning beige fat is an attractive obesity treatment strategy, but the mechanism sourcing the process in the body is not yet clear,” Dr. Quinlan said. “While we need to do more research to further validate our hypothesis, this work suggests that eosinophils may play a greater role in beige fat activation than previously thought.” “
The study was published in the journal Nature-Communications.