'Good fat' can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes
Melbourne, Nov 25 : A new study has revealed that brown fat, nicknamed the "good fat," can help control type 2 diabetes because it not just warms up the body in cold temperatures, but burning up calories in the process, it also "hoovers up" excess sugar.
The discovery is significant for people with type 2 diabetes, whose bodies are unable to respond to insulin properly, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. Researchers believe that if brown fat cells can be activated, blood glucose levels could be controlled without the need for daily insulin injections.
Previously brown fat was thought to be present only in animals and babies, but PET scans of adult patients in 2007 proved otherwise. Located on the back, the upper half of the spine and the shoulders, younger people are more likely to have brown fat than people who are overweight or obese. Brown fat is also known to increase in cold weather and decline in warm environments.
By observing cells, the research team found that following application of a drug that mimics cold exposure, brown fat produces large amounts of a protein that transports glucose into cells, and importantly does so independently of the way insulin transports glucose into these cells.
Closer analysis showed brown fat cells produced 10 times the amount of glucose transporters than insulin.
Dr Dana Hutchinson said that what remains unclear was why some people have good fat and others do not.
Potentially the research could lead to a completely new medicine to treat type 2 diabetes, offering an alternative to daily insulin injections. The next phase of research will see the team investigate the impact of being obese and diabetic on glucose regulation in brown fat.
The study is published in The Journal of Cell Biology. (ANI)