Manipulation Of Stem Cells Helps Fight Obesity

First Posted: Feb 16, 2015 11:00 PM EST

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London found that stem cells could play a role in preventing obesity. They discovered that reducing the size of tiny hair like structures on the biological compounds can prevent them from turning into fat, as well as the risk of related health issues. 

"This is the first time that it has been shown that subtle changes in primary cilia structure can influence the differentiation of stem cell into fat," Melis Dalbay, co-author of the research from the School of Engineering and Materials Science at QMUL, in a news release. "Since primary cilia length can be influenced by various factors including pharmaceuticals, inflammation and even mechanical forces, this study provides new insight into the regulation of fat cell formation and obesity."

For the study, researchers found that the process of adipogenesis, otherwise known as the differentiation of stem cells into fat cells, increased the length of primary cilia that's associated with the movement of specific proteins.

By restricting the cilia elongation in stem cells, researchers successfully stopoed the formation of new fat cells. Furthermore, they found that the risk of several conditions, including obesity, bone problems, blindness and kidney disease, were reduced via the restriction.

"This research points towards a new type of treatment known as ‘cilia-therapy' where manipulation of primary cilia may be used in future to treat a growing range of conditions including obesity, cancer, inflammation and arthritis," concluded Professor Martin Knight, a bioengineer and lead author of the research.

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