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Brown Fat Potentially Effective Treatment for Type 2 and Obesity

Stress hormones prompt increase of glucose uptake….

Researchers found that brown adipose tissue (brown fat), which is active in adults, acts as one of the bodily tissues that can be encouraged to take up glucose from the bloodstream to use as a fuel source to create body heat. Increasing the uptake of glucose in brown fat could decrease blood sugar levels.

“Our study shows that the body’s own stress hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine, increase the uptake of glucose in brown fat,” said
Tore Bengtsson, lead investigator. “Epinephrine and norepinephrine can affect almost all our bodily organs by binding to receptors on the surface of a cell.”

He adds that they have shown the mechanism through which “adrenergic receptors” – found on brown fat – encourage the uptake of glucose. “This is completely new and ground-breaking research.”

The next step is to investigate how stimulating the pathway could affect glucose homeostasis in rodents, creating a potentially effective treatment for both type 2 diabetes and obesity. Bengtsson and his team are now looking into exploring this possibility.

Practice Pearls:

  • Brown fat can be encouraged to take up glucose from the bloodstream
  • The stress hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine, increase the uptake of glucose in brown fat.
  • New and ground-breaking research shows that the mechanism through which “adrenergic receptors,” which are found on brown fat, encourage the uptake of glucose.

Journal of Cell Biology, Nov. 2014