A person who is obese has copious amounts of white fat, and researchers think if they can coax the body into making more energy burning brown fat, then this may help obese people lose weight. Previously, the Dana Farber Cancer researchers found that a certain gene transcription factor was able to transform muscle cells into brown fat cells.
The hunt is now on for a drug that could chemically stimulate this gene transcription factor to produce more brown fat cells, which would shift the metabolism into fat-burning mode. The second research team from Joslin Diabetes Center found a protein known for inducing bone growth can also promote the development of brown fat cells.
The team found the mice that developed extra brown fat tissue gained less weight than other mice, suggesting a possible use for weight loss. Lead researcher Yu-Hua Tseng said in a statement, "We hope this study can be translated into applications to help treat or prevent obesity."