A new therapeutic target for controlling obesity have been discovered by researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
They have found that a cellular signaling pathway governs the differentiation of cells into fat tissue or smooth muscle, which lines the vascular system.
Engaging this signaling pathway and its capacity to govern cell differentiation has important implications in preventing obesity and cardiovascular disease, the researchers explained.
Using mice that were genetically engineered to have elevated PDGFRB Signaling, the researchers showed that elevated PDGFRB signaling inhibits differentiation of immature mesenchymal stem cells.
These cells have the ability to give rise to multiple cell types in the organism, including fat cells and vascular smooth muscle, according to the researchers.
"How mesenchymal cells are regulated within the body had been unclear until now. Our research is the first done in animals to show that PDGFR? is a key regulator of cellular differentiation into fat cells or smooth muscle cells," said Philippe M. Soriano, Professor, Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
"These data indicate that PDGFR? plays a critical role in determining their cellular fate, providing a new therapeutic target in preventing the onset of diseases like obesity," he added.
The study is published in the June issue of Developmental Cell.