Improving control of age-related obesity

May 04, 2017

The function and distribution of adipose tissue in the body change during the course of life. Beige fat cells, a special type of adipocytes, have the capability to use energy reserves - fatty deposits - by generating heat in a process known as thermogenesis. With increasing age, beige adipocytes take on the morphology of white adipocytes. Thermogenic activity ceases and with it the cells' ability to burn fat. As a result, the risk of obesity increases. A team working with Freiburg researchers Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle and Dr. Delphine Duteil has now proven that the epigenetic enzyme lysine specific demethylase 1 (Lsd1) plays a key role in this transformation. They are presenting their results in the science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The number of beige adipocytes decreases when Lsd1 levels fall in aging adipose tissue. The group nevertheless was able to maintain Lsd1 production specifically in fat cells, and thereby reducing age-related transformation of beige to white adipose tissue. In an experiment with mice, the amount of beige adipocytes in older animals was maintained at nearly the level corresponding to that of younger mice. Conversely, the research team also showed that loss of Lsd1 in younger animals led to premature transformation of the fat cells. To observe this, the researchers marked the beige adipocytes with a fluorescent protein and reproduced their transformation to white adipose tissue.

Beige fat cells can be generated using cold treatment, for example. These then use fatty acids to produce warmth. Body weight gain is limited as a result. The researchers demonstrated that Lsd1 is not only essential for the development of beige adipocytes, but also for the maintenance of beige fat cells. Therefore, an elevated Lsd1 level is indispensable for the efficient burning of calories.

The analyses showed furthermore that Lsd1 maintains beige adipocytes by means of the target gene Pparα. This gene is interesting from a therapeutic standpoint, because selective and effective drugs can activate or suppress it with relative ease. In their experiments, the team proved that pharmacological activation of Pparα is sufficient to hinder the premature loss of beige fat cells in mice with low levels of Lsd1. The animals were therefore protected from metabolic disorders that are caused by Lsd1 loss.

Roland Schüle and Delphine Duteil carry out their research at the Department of Urology and Clinical Research Center at the Freiburg University Medical Center. Schüle is a member of the cluster of excellence the BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies of the University of Freiburg.
-end-
Original publication: Delphine Duteil, Milica Tosic, Dominica Willmann, Anastasia Georgiadi, Toufike Kanouni, and Roland Schüle (2016). Lsd1 prevents age-programmed loss of beige adipocytes. PNAS. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1702641114

Read about Roland Schüle's research in "uni'wissen": http://www.pr2.uni-freiburg.de/publikationen/uniwissen/uniwissen-2014-1-en/#/8

Caption: Lsd1 placed on white adipocytes (red) prevents the aging of beige adipose tissue (yellow). Photo: Delphine Duteil

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle
Department of Urology and Clinical Research Center
Freiburg University Medical Center
BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies
Tel.: 0761/270-63100
E-Mail: roland.schuele@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Dr. Delphine Duteil
Clinical Research Center
Freiburg University Medical Center
Tel.: 0761/270-63390
E-Mail: delphine.duteil@uniklinik-freiburg.de

University of Freiburg

Related Fat Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

New insight into how muscles and fat cells work together to make you more fit
Scientists in Denmark and Brazil find evidence of muscle and adipose cross-talk and gain new insight into the importance of adipose DICER in the adaptive response of muscle to exercise training

When cancer cells can't make their own fat, they eat more of it
Cancer cells rewire their metabolism to compensate for a halt in fat production by importing more fat molecules from their environment.

T cells trim the fat and protect against obesity
Specialized immune cells protect against obesity by regulating the diverse communities of intestinal bacteria in mice, according to a new study, which shows how changes in gut microbiota can influence the development of metabolic disorders.

Signals from skin cells control fat cell specialization
When cells change to a more specialized type, we call this process cellular differentiation.

Fat cells work different 'shifts' throughout the day
Fat cells in the human body have their own internal clocks and exhibit circadian rhythms affecting critical metabolic functions, new research in the journal Scientific Reports, finds.

In their DNA: Rotator cuff stem cells more likely to develop into fat cells
Why are fat deposits more likely to occur after tears of the shoulder's rotator cuff, compared to other types of muscle injuries?

Conversion of breast cancer cells into fat cells impedes the formation of metastases
An innovative combination therapy can force malignant breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells.

Breast cancer cells in mice tricked into turning into fat cells
As cancer cells respond to cues in their microenvironment, they can enter a highly plastic state in which they are susceptible to transdifferentiation into a different type of cell.

Low copper levels linked to fatter fat cells
In studies of mouse cells, Johns Hopkins researchers have found that low levels of cellular copper appear to make fat cells fatter by altering how cells process their main metabolic fuels, such as fat and sugar.

Sarcolipin tricks muscle cells into using more energy, burning fat
Ever wonder why you burn fat and heat up when you exercise or shiver?

Read More: Fat Cells News and Fat Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.