A new Brazilian-based study has claimed
that belly fat, which is generally frowned upon, is actually rich in stem
This first of its kind study sought to
examine whether fat tissues from different areas of the body vary in stem cell
The researchers found that fat removed from
the lower abdomen and inner thigh through liposuction was found to be an
excellent source of stem cells, with higher stem cell concentrations than other
areas of the body.
"Adult stem cells, derived from our
own tissues, hold strong promise for improved clinical therapies," said J.
Peter Rubin, MD, a member of the ASPS Fat Grafting Task Force who is involved
in pre-clinical trial work on stem cells taken from fat.
He added: "The potential for healing
and repairing injury or disease through stem cells, including conditions like
breast cancer and reconstruction, heart failure, spinal injuries, diabetes and
Parkinson''s disease are incredible. We may be able to more permanently and
naturally get rid of pesky wrinkles or augment breasts with stem cell enriched
fat in the future as well. Knowing more about the biology of stem cells will be
of great value when we are ready for clinical trials in this country."
The study was conducted on 23 female
patients having liposuction in at least four different body areas, who agreed
to have their fat isolated for adult stem cells and analyzed to determine stem
cell concentrations. The body areas that were liposuctioned were: lower
abdomen, upper abdomen, inner knee, inner thigh, flank and hips.
The results indicated a significant
difference in stem cell concentrations in different areas of the body. A major
finding was that the concentration of stem cells was greatest in the lower
abdomen and inner thighs. In fact, stem cell concentration in the lower abdomen
was five times greater than in the upper abdomen.
"The value of stem cells harvested
through fat is the ready and ample supply available. Using stem cells will some
day have very practical applications to the specialty of plastic surgery. That
we may be able to generate new tissue or bone that can be used in many of the
reconstructive and cosmetic procedures we do every day is a tremendous,"
said ASPS President Richard D''Amico, MD.
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that
have not yet developed a specific function. Not only are they capable of self
renewal, stem cells can divide and produce others that become specialized
cells. Scientists and doctors theorize that stem cells will be able to repair
or replace damaged or diseased cells.
The study is published in August''s Plastic
and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American
Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).