Not all fat cells, such as the ones seen in adipose tissue above, are created equal. Researchers think directing fat cells derived from bone marrow to turn into certain types of fat cell could help reduce the risk for a range of diseases. Photo by Jose Luis Calvo/Shutterstock
AURORA, Ohio, March 1 (UPI) -- Based on a new finding that some fat cells are produced by stem cells in bone marrow, some researchers think motivating the type of fat cells they become could help in the treatment of obesity.
The researchers think manipulating the type of fat cells in the body could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, and other conditions, possibly including obesity.
Previous research with mice has shown fat-storing cells produced by bone marrow stem cells promote inflammation and hinder the ability of some cells to respond to insulin.
"Our study suggests that it may be the type of fat-storing cells produced in our bodies that determines risk for disease, rather than the amount of fat," Dr. Dwight Klemm, a researcher at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, said in a press release.
For the study, published in the FASEB Journal, researchers recruited participants who had received bone marrow transplants several months before the study.
Using samples of fat tissue from the participants, the researchers analyzed DNA from fat cells to determine if they were from the patient or from the donor, in which case they would have originated in transplanted bone marrow. Among donors, roughly 35 percent of fat cells were generated from donor marrow.
"This paradigm highlights the possibility of new strategies to prevent and reverse fat-related chronic disease by controlling the production of different types of fat-storing cells," Klemm said.