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Study explores impact of obesity on bone marrow cells

Washington D.C. [U.S.A], December 28 (ANI): In a new research, a group of scientists have managed to find the pernicious effect of obesity on the long-term health of blood-making stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells).

Conducted largely in genetic models of obese mice, it shows obesity causes durable and harmful changes to the hematopoietic stem cell compartment - the blood-making factory in our bodies.

Talking about the study, study's principal investigator Damien Reynaud, said, "There is now an understanding that the blood stem cell compartment is made up of numerous cell subsets. Keeping this compartment healthy is essential to human health. This includes maintaining the diverse pool of blood-making stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells) needed to produce blood cells the body needs to function properly."

The research showed that age and environmental stresses can lessen the healthy diversity of cells in our blood-making machinery.

This can include skewing blood cell formation toward myeloid cells and possibly promoting pre-leukemic fates, according to Reynaud and his collaborators.

Reynaud and collaborators, including first author and post-doctoral research fellow Jung-Mi Lee, show that obesity related stresses alter the cellular architecture of the hematopoietic stem cell compartment and reduce its long-term functional fitness.

The tests show these effects are progressive and that some of the harmful manifestations persist even after researchers normalize the animals' weight through dietary controls.

The team also noted that these alterations of the body's blood-making system appear to be linked to over-expression of a transcription factor called Gfi1 -- a regulatory gene that tells other genes what to do.

Investigators say their study also provides groundwork to investigate how lifestyle choices, such as diet, can durably impact blood formation and may contribute to the development of blood cancer.

"Little is known about how obesity in marrow donors could affect the quality of the hematopoietic stem cell compartment. We want to better understand the molecular alterations in obesity to predict potential risks associated with the therapeutic use of stem cells isolated from obese donors," explained Reynaud.

The study was published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. (ANI)

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