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Brown Fat Flexes Its Muscle

06:36 EDT 3 Aug 2018 | Genetic Engineering News

Brown fat, or brown adipose tissue (BAT), is particularly abundant in babies and in small mammals, and plays a key role in generating body heat and burning excess energy. In adults, brown fat activation is linked with lower body weight, and better glucose and lipid regulation, which makes it a potential therapeutic target for metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Studies in rodents by a team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) now indicate that brown fat can also act to regulate skeletal muscle function. The results showed that deleting a key gene known as IRF4 in the animals’ brown fat led to reduced exercise performance and changes to muscle structure, whereas overexpressing the brown fat gene boosted muscle exercise capacity. We knew that muscles could regulate brown fat  – exercising increases brown fat  – but it was unknown whether brown fat affected muscle function, says research ...

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