Many people in the world have type 2 diabetes. In the United States alone, the figure is in the tens of millions. The disease is characterized by high blood sugar and the development of resistance to insulin, the hormone that allows cells to use the sugar in the blood for energy. This disease has been linked to obesity, since excess white adipose tissue (fatty tissue commonly called white fat, which contains most of the energy stored in the body) is associated with elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance in susceptible people.
Humans and other mammals also have a second type of fat, known as brown adipose tissue Or simply brown fat, which is capable of burning fat as a way to increase body heat when the ambient temperature is cold. Brown adipose tissue has been investigated as a potential tool for weight loss, but it has also been suspected that it may be able to improve blood sugar independently of helping you lose extra pounds.
A team that includes Dr. Perry E. Bickel and Dr. Violeta I. Gallardo-Montejano, both from the Southwest Medical Center, part of the University of Texas in the United States, set out to find out to what extent brown adipose tissue can help that the body regulates blood sugar levels well, regardless of its effect on body weight.
The research team has found that brown fat does indeed appear to be able to play an important protective role against diabetes. The researchers made this discovery while studying the PLIN5, a protein that coats lipid droplets inside cells, particularly brown adipose tissue.
When the team genetically modified mice, the animals, which had excess PLIN5 in brown adipose tissue, maintained significantly lower blood sugar concentrations and increased insulin sensitivity during glucose tolerance tests, compared to mice with normal levels of PLIN5. His tendency to fatty liver, a deleterious trait associated with type 2 diabetes, was also less.
The mitochondria in brown fat cells increase their ability to burn fat, even when the room temperature is warm instead of cold, when they have more PLIN5 protein than normal. The changes can be seen in the case of an untreated mouse, at warm room temperature (left); that of an untreated mouse, at cold room temperature (center); and that of a mouse treated with extra PLIN5, at warm room temperature (right). (Images: Violeta I. Gallardo-Montejano / Perry E. Bickel)
Looking for the mechanism underlying these positive changes, the scientists discovered that the mitochondria in the brown adipose cells of the genetically modified mice had adapted to burn more fat, similar to what is seen in normal animals subjected to high temperatures low environmental conditions. However, the adaptation was not sufficient to explain the blood sugar lowering effect. The researchers found that adipocytes Whites of the animals that had an excess of PLIN5 in their brown adipocytes were smaller and had reductions in some inflammation markers, changes that are associated with better insulin sensitivity and better sugar metabolism. (Source: NCYT from Amazings)