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A particular protein might cause obesity and diabetes

By jeremyc | April 15, 2017

All types of fat are not equal—some help in important bodily functions. For instance, beige and brown fat play a vital role in several metabolic functions, besides assisting the body to adapt to low temperatures and producing energy. However, a recent research has found that a specific type of protein, when present in high amounts, suppresses the energy-producing capabilities of these two types of fat, and thereby increases the risk of obesity.

Energy is stored as fat in our bodies. The fat tissue, also called adipose tissue, plays an important role in regulating the metabolism of our body. It is usually sub-divided into two types: brown and white. Another type of fat, called beige fat, can be derived from white fat.

The functions of the brown and white fat are poles apart. The main job of white fat is to store energy as triglycerides, a type of fat found in blood and which, if present in abnormally high amounts, can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Brown fat expends energy by creating heat when the body is exposed to low temperatures.

In comparison to white fat, brown fat is considered healthier, and the same is true for beige fat. Structure-wise also they are different than white fat.

In this study, the researchers noted that a particular protein, called ld1, inhibits the action of brown fat and interferes with the process through which white fat is turned into beige fat.

According to this research, ld1 is a risk factor for both diabetes and obesity. Scientists believe by targeting this protein, it might be possible to reverse the two conditions.

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