Fighting Fat with FatBy | On Sep 10, 2012
In dealing with the increasing rise of obesity and its attendant complications, the story keeps adding new characters and plot twists. In addition to confusion regarding the methods for determining obesity, discussions regarding the importance of where the fat deposition occurs; it now appears the previously brown and white line between the types of fat no longer applies either. A recent study[i] has discovered a beige fat that exists in adult humans. The typical fat cells that store fat are known produce what is known as white fat. The accumulation too many of these type of fat cells results in obesity. Brown fat cells are fat cells that actually burn energy instead of storing it and this is the type of fat found in babies and other mammals. Its functions include protection against hypothermia and obesity. There are two types of known brown fat cells. The researchers’ report that was previously thought to be brown fat cells in humans is actually a new type of beige fat cell. This beige cell was found among white fat cell deposits. Unlike white fat cells, they burn fat like brown fat cells. Future research will focus on ways to turn on these little fat burners and thus hopefully reduce obesity and its potential complications.
[i] (Jun Wu, 2012)
Jun Wu, P. B.-H. (2012). Beige Adipocytes Are a Distinct Type of Thermogenic Fat Cell in Mouse and Human. Cell, Volume 150, Issue 2, 366-376, 12 July 2012.