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article imageCan the fat burning 'toggle switch' be found?

By Tim Sandle     May 5, 2013 in Health
Several scientific inquiries have sought to find a way to convert undesirable white fat cells into brown fat cells as a means of stimulating weight loss. Some new research may have found the answer.
A research team believe that they have decoded a "toggle switch" in mice which can significantly stimulate fat burning by converting white fat cells to brown fat cells.
The difference between the two cell types is that white fat cells store excess food whereas brown fat cells function to burn excess energy. With brown fat cells, the primary function is to generate body heat in animals or newborns that do not shiver. Young people tend to have this classic brown fat tissue, but it seems to disappear during adolescence, according to Zee News.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer, Director of the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology believes that, through the use of animal models in mice, he can engineer the transformation between the two cell types, thereby theoretically promoting weight loss. This has been achieved by isolating the "microRNA switch" in mice which is important for brown fat cells. microRNA is a means to regulate gene activity.
Using modified and unmodified mice, the outcome of the experiment was that the modified mice had significantly more brown fat cells available than did the unmodified mice.
The research was undertaken at the University of Bonn and the findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications. The paper is titled "miR-155 regulates differentiation of brown and beige adipocytes via a bistable circuit."
More about Fat, white fat cells, brown fat cells, Mice, Weight
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