BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Although it sounds incredible, a team of researchers discovered how to trick cells into burning fat while still consuming fatty foods. They tested this experiment on mice, and hoped it might be soon applied on humans as well. If it proves effective, they can develop a method to prevent obesity and reduce the accumulation of fat in our bodies.
Obesity is one of the biggest threats to our health
A huge number of Americans are obese, and the condition threatens to become more severe. This is a serious problem, as obesity is linked to a series of health issues, such as the development of diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Therefore, many researchers are interested in finding out how to stop it.
In this new experiment, the scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine explored the cell development in mice. This is how they noticed that the signaling system present in this process might offer an effective solution against obesity. The system in question is called the Hedgehog pathway.
Obesity is caused by the size, and not the number of the fat cells
Therefore, they edited the genes of several mice so that the pathway was activated whenever they ate fatty foods. What the pathway usually does is to prevent the cells from reaching a certain size. This way, they could still keep a regular size while following a high-fat diet. Then, researchers administered the same type of foods to mice with unedited genes, and they became obese.
Obesity appears as fat cells grow bigger, as they start accumulating more fatty material. Therefore, it’s the size of the cells, and not the numbers, that make us overweight. Finding out how to control fat cell size is a huge scientific breakthrough. Now, researchers have to find out to apply it to humans, or if it’s possible to combat obesity in the same way when it comes to a different species.
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