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Cells in White Fat Can Transform to Energy-Burning Brown Fat

Yu-Hua Tseng, Ph.D. of Joslin Diabetes Center

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In some adults, the white fat cells that we all stockpile so readily are supplemented by a very different form of fat—brown fat cells, which can offer the neat trick of burning energy rather than storing it. Researchers at Joslin, which last year led the way in demonstrating an active role for brown fat in adults, now have identified progenitor cells in mouse white fat tissue and skeletal muscle that can be transformed into brown fat cells.

“This finding opens up a whole new avenue for researchers working to induce endogenous progenitor cells to differentiate into mature brown fat cells,” says Yu-Hua Tseng, Ph.D., Joslin Investigator. “It’s particularly exciting because we found that some of these cells are located in subcutaneous white fat.”

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Yu-Hua Tseng, Ph.D. of Joslin Diabetes Center

Page last updated: November 26, 2014