Brown Fat Cells May Benefit Obese Diabetics

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A new signaling pathway may be beneficial in treating type 2 diabetes by stimulating glucose uptake through brown fat cells, according to a study published in The Journal of Cell Biology.

The study, conducted by Tore Bengtsson, MD, and fellow researchers of the Wenner-Gren Institute at Stockholm University, has found that the mTORC2 signaling pathway is a key regulator of glucose in diabetic mice.

They found that the pathway, which involves a protein kinase called mTOR, stimulates the transport of GLUT1, a glucose-importing protein, to the surface of brown fat cells.

“One of the most interesting characteristics of this newly-discovered signal pathway is that it differs from the signal pathway triggered by insulin,” Dr. Bengtsson stated. “This means that the signal pathway in brown fat can most likely be activated even in patients with type 2 diabetes, where insulin signaling is impaired.”

Stimulating the pathway may also aid in weight loss therapy in these patients through the utilization of brown fat, which is known for its energy-burning power.

'Brown Fat' Lowers Risk of Diabetes, Obesity
New signaling pathway may be beneficial by stimulating glucose uptake through brown fat cells.

A newly identified signaling pathway that stimulates glucose uptake in brown fat cells might be useful for treating type 2 diabetes and obesity, according to a study in The Journal of Cell Biology. When the body encounters cold temperatures, the sympathetic nervous system activates adrenoceptors on the surface of brown fat cells to stimulate glucose uptake from the bloodstream.

Brown fat cells then use this glucose as a fuel source to generate body heat. Glucose uptake also can be induced by insulin. However, although insulin-stimulated glucose-uptake is well understood, the mechanisms involved in the adrenoceptor-dependent process have been unclear.

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