Scientists identify fat cells that could reduce type 2 diabetes risk

A team of researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center has discovered a type of cell that is capable of transforming into energy-burning brown fat cells. The findings could help millions of obese individuals cut excess body fat and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Common white fat cells take excess energy and turn it into body fat. However, brown fat cells work very differently. Rather than storing energy, they burn it, reducing the accumulation of unnecessary fat tissue. The findings could lead to therapies that allow individuals to burn fat much more efficiently.

The findings of the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that a certain type of cell located in fat tissue can develop into either white or brown fat cells. Furthermore, the team discovered that when these cells are exposed to the protein BMP-7, they are much more inclined to become brown fat cells.

Yu-Hua Tseng believes that the findings could be used to develop more effective weight loss therapies for individuals who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"Given that obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic disease, finding new ways to reduce body weight is really essential," she said.
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