Fat Injection Slims Obese Mice

Transplanting energy-burning brown fat can prevent excess weight gain in a mouse model of obesity.

By | April 7, 2015

WIKIMEDIA, WELLCOME IMAGESRamping up the reported energy-burning activity of brown fat is an intriguing therapeutic concept to help people lose excess weight. Scientists have explored methods such as shivering and administering brown fat-activating molecules. In the latest in a series of studies on transplanting brown fat, a team lead by investigators in China has found that animals destined to become obese don’t gain as much weight after a single injection of brown fat from a donor animal.

“This is the first study showing that BAT [brown adipose tissue] transplantation enhances the activity of endogenous BAT, eventually leading to the improvement of whole body energy metabolism and glucose homeostasis,” the authors wrote in their report, published last week (April 1) in Endocrinology.

The researchers transplanted brown fat to mice deficient in leptin, which predisposes the animals to obesity and metabolic problems. Not only did the experimental mice not gain as much weight as their control counterparts, but they did not suffer other problems, such as fatty liver and insulin insensitivity. 

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Avatar of: Jay Thakar

Jay Thakar

Posts: 16

April 8, 2015

I would like to know if brown adipose tissue is grown in tissue culture?

Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 237

April 8, 2015

So then, what should they do in people?  Harvest brown fat from some and then transplant it into others, and then the recipients would take immunosuppressant drug for life?  Not a great idea.  Jay Thakar is on the right track with harvesting brown fat from a patient, growing it massively in tissue culture, and then injecting it back.  First, one has to localize those tiny amounts with extreme certainty; not an east task.  Then, like any tissue engineering, the problem of a lack of blood supply limits the size of any implanted tissue.  Finally, there will still need to be some sort of pharmaceutical administration because brown fat needs to be continuously activated in non-cold environments...and those drugs, right now, are very expensive.  

In total, why are we talking about brown fat?!  Expensive surgery, then hyperexpensive tissue culture, then more expensive surgery, then expensive drug therapy.  Finally, please think about this.  If our metabolisms were ramped up, this all generates massive amounts of heat that would need to be dissipated.  Remember, rodents have this thermogenesis mechanism for combatting cold environments.  Imagine a never-ending hot flash.  Yeah, GREAT!  How stupid.

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