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article imageFat burning cancer link

By Tim Sandle     Jul 26, 2014 in Science
Conversion of white fat to brown is associated with muscle atrophy and weight loss in cancer patients, according to a new study.
A new study links the browning of white fat in adipose tissue to cancer-associated cachexia. Cachexia is a wasting syndrome that causes approximately 20 percent of deaths in cancer patients. Cachexia causes a loss of weight, muscle atrophy, fatigue, weakness, and significant loss of appetite. Even if the affected patient eats more calories, lean body mass will be lost.
In the new study, Science News notes, scientists reveal that the conversion of white fat to brown is an early step preceding the atrophy process in mouse models of lung and pancreatic cancer. The browning of white fat was linked to higher expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), which increased lipid metabolism and promoted energy expenditure in mice.
White fat — that which piles on waistlines, potentially leading to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease — is typically considered “bad,” while brown fat, a form that generates heat to keep babies and hibernating animals warm, is usually thought of as healthier.
According to the research note, this study “is the first time that this phenomenon we might call burning fat has been associated with a negative effect.”
The findings have been published in the journal Cell Metabolism. The paper is headed "A Switch from White to Brown Fat Increases Energy Expenditure in Cancer-Associated Cachexia."
More about Fat, white fat cells, brown fat cells, Cancer
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