A mechanism that causes fat cells to lose their ability to efficiently store and use energy has been discovered by Yale University researchers.
Dozens of things go wrong at the same time when cells are overwhelmed by excess fat storage, and the million-dollar question is: Which of these factors cause the breakdown of cellular balance?" Tobias Walther, senior author of the study, said.
AdvertisementWalther's and his collaborators at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco discovered that an enzyme within cells senses tension at the surface of the expanding fat droplets, which triggers the production of more surface components of fat droplets, enabling them to expand and accommodate more fatty acids without adverse consequences.
"Without this mechanism, fat droplets within cells where energy is stored undergo quick expansion and form one big glump.
"The cells must balance fluctuations in energy availability, and we are exploring other mechanisms that help maintain this dynamic storage capacity," he stated.
Dr. Robert Farese, Jr. a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes added: "By showing exactly how our cells are supposed to store individual fat molecules, our research offers clues about what happens when things go awry and fat accumulates in the body".
The study has been published in the 5th October issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.