In the last decade or so, obesity and diabetes have become a global epidemic leading to severe cardiovascular disease.
Researchers at the University of Utah believe their recent identification of brown fat stem cells in adult humans may lead to new treatments for heart and endocrine disorders, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Stem Cells.
The study was led by Amit N. Patel, M.D. M.S., director of Clinical Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering, and associate professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
"If you have more brown fat, you weigh less, you're metabolically efficient, and you have fewer instances of diabetes and high cholesterol. The unique identification of human brown fat stem cells in the chest of patients aged from 28 to 84 years is profound. We were able to isolate the human stem cells, culture and grow them, and implant them into a pre-human model which has demonstrated positive effects on glucose levels," said Patel.
The new discovery of finding brown fat stem cells may help in identifying potential drugs that may increase the body's own ability to make brown fat or find novel ways to directly implant the brown fat stem cells into patients.