The Brown adipose tissue (brown fat) present in humans and other mammal’s functions to generate heat in cold conditions and to increase insulin sensitivity. (White adipose tissue, by contrast, simply stores fat.) The amount of brown fat in in humans starts declining during the first decade of life and continues to fall throughout life. Loss of brown fat is associated with reduced glucose tolerance, decreased energy expenditure, and cold intolerance.
Jeffrey E. Pessin, Ph.D., Daorong Feng, Ph.D. and collaborator Kosaku Shinoda, Ph.D., have received a four-year, $2.3 million NIH grant to understand the molecular basis for the decline in brown fat’s mass and function during normal aging and whether preserving brown adipocytes could improve energy balance, insulin sensitivity and metabolic homeostasis. The scientists’ have found evidence suggesting that brown fat’s decline activates pryoptosis (a highly inflammatory type of programmed cell death) through the NLRP1 signaling pathway. Their research could lead to strategies to prevent brown fat’s decline with age of or even to increase the number of brown fat cells and boost their ability to improve glucose metabolism, burn more calories, and prevent weight gain.
Dr. Pessin is director of Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Center, as well as the Judy R. and Alfred A. Rosenberg Professorial Chair in Diabetes Research and is professor of medicine and of molecular pharmacology. Dr. Feng is a research assistant professor of medicine at Einstein and Dr. Shinoda is an assistant professor of medicine and molecular pharmacology at Einstein. (1R01DK128839-01)
Posted on: Friday, June 25, 2021