A new approach to target fat-producing stem cells that produce the type of fat ringing the waists has been developed by a team of scientists.
The researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have developed a bold approach for targeting fat-generating stem cells that one day could aid in the delivery of drugs that slow the cells' ability to direct fat expansion.
The researchers used small artificial proteins (peptides) in a mouse model to identify a marker on the surface of adipose stem cells. Markers are molecules specifically expressed on individual cell types.
The scientists screened about 100 billion peptides before finding one that was specific for mouse and human adipose stem cells.
"This marker, called delta-decorin, is specifically expressed on the surface of adipose stem cells, which are responsible for the production of white adipose tissue," Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D., the study's senior author and assistant professor of molecular medicine at the UTHealth Medical School, said.
"This is the first prospective marker to be discovered for this particular type of adult stem cell.
"The existing approaches to identify adipose stem cells are based on combinations of semi-specific markers and are unreliable.
"Now we are able to target these cells with a new peptide probe for the purpose of tracing them in the body or controlled elimination," Kolonin added.
The study is titled 'An Isoform of Decorin is a Resistin Receptor on the Surface of Adipose Progenitor Cells'.
The findings have been published online ahead of the print issue of Cell Stem Cell.