Pressure may hinder the production of new fat

In a finding that could have major implications for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel have shown that mechanical loads may prevent fat cells from producing new fat in the body.

Several studies have connected high levels of bodily fat to increased diabetes risk. It has been shown that fat causes inflammation, which leads to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Reducing bodily fat may benefit millions of Americans who are at risk of developing the condition.

Amit Gefen, of the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, reported in the Journal of Biomechanics that direct pressure has been known for years to affect the way that bone and muscle cells function. Therefore, he hypothesized that the same might be true of fat cells.

To test the theory, he and his research team developed a computer model of fat cells. After applying direct pressure to these cells, the model showed reduced production of fat. The next step for the research will be to determine the best way to translate their findings into a practical method to be used in humans.