In the report, researchers have described the discovery that may allow some obese people avoid common obesity-related metabolic problems without actually losing weight.
Even more promising is that some of the antioxidant drugs that can mimic he melanin effect are FDA-approved and available, the boffins found.
This availability would greatly speed the development of new treatments, should they prove effective in clinical trials.
The researchers made the unexpected discovery when they were comparing fat cells of obese people to those of people with normal weight.
After the comparison, they found that the gene responsible for making melanin was working in "overdrive" in the fat cells of obese people. The finding was then confirmed using additional laboratory tests. Melanin is a common antioxidant responsible for skin and eye color.
Ancha Baranova, one of the study's researchers from George Mason University and INOVA Fairfax Hospital says, "Most scientific efforts aim at making obese individuals lose weight, but this has proven difficult. Hopefully, this study will lead to a drug that keeps obese individuals healthy, reducing the cost-burden to society as well as some of the stigma associated with this condition."