Senior author Stanley Watowich said, "As fat cells grow larger, they begin to overexpress a protein that acts as a metabolic brake and slows down fat cell metabolism, making it harder for these cells to burn accumulating fat".
Watowich stated, "As the fat tissue expands, they secrete greater amounts of hormones and pro-inflammatory signals that are responsible for several chronic diseases, including Type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."
The team discovered a molecule that blocks this metabolic brake from operating in obese white fat cells. By blocking this metabolic brake, they were able to increase the metabolism of white fat cells.
The researchers conducted the study on mice and fed them on a high-fat diet until they became obese. They later received either the drug or a placebo.
Following the 10 days of drug treatment, the findings indicated that the obese mice receiving the actual drug lost more than seven percent of their total body weight and their white fat tissue mass and cell size decreased by 30 percent compared with the placebo group.
In addition, blood cholesterol in drug-treated mice was lowered to normal levels, similar to those of non-obese mice.
Interestingly, mice in both the drug-treated and placebo groups consumed the same amount of food during the course of the study period, showing that the fat loss was not due to appetite suppression.
"Blocking the action of the fat cell brake provides an innovative 'fat'-specific mechanism to increase cell metabolism and reduce the size of white fat deposits, thereby treating a root cause of obesity and related metabolic diseases," explained senior study author Harshini Neelakantan.
The research appears in Biochemical Pharmacology journal. (ANI)