It has long been known for scientists engaged in a fight against obesity that white fat cells are "unhealthy", as they store tryglicerides and other harmful substances. Conversely, brown cells are desired due to the protection against an excessive increase in the body mass they provide and their capability for burning fatty acids.Now, what has been discovered is likely to be a signaling pathway that stimulates the other type to burning energy.
The team have focused on the signaling pathway named CHRNA2. By monitoring the activity of over 20 neurotransmitters present in mice, the researchers have discovered that the pathway is active when the body transforms brown fat into energy in order to protect one's organism against the cold (it is a fundamental function of the adipose tissue of this kind).Once the researchers had deactivated CHRNA2, the mice not only started suffering from shivers but also began rapidly gaining weight.
When the researchers commenced to measure the neurotransmitter levels within the fat cells, they have discovered that the nicotinic acetylcholine induced the signalling of CHRNA2. This discovery makes therapies targeted at the transfer pathway of CHRNA2 signaling offer a chance for effectively fighting obesity.The study has been published in Nature Medicine journal, also providing an explanation to why smokers persistently claim that their addiction helps them lose weight.