Genetically Modified Transplanted HUMBLE (Human Brown-like) Fat Cells, a Potential Therapy for Obesity and Diabetes

Dec, 2020 - By WMR

Genetically Modified Transplanted HUMBLE (Human Brown-like) Fat Cells, a Potential Therapy for Obesity and Diabetes

According to a new research study by the researchers of Joslin Diabetes Center have reported to developed proof of concept for a novel cell-based therapy for obesity and diabetes. It is evident that Obesity results in type 2 diabetes and related chronic illnesses and responsible for several obesity related deaths, around the globe. A potential therapy developed by the researchers for obesity include transplanting genetically modified (using CRISPR) HUMBLE (human brown-like) fat cells, human white fat cells to exhibit similar functionality as heat-generating brown fat cells.

Tseng, senior author, stated, “Brown fat cells burn energy instead of storing energy as white fat cells do. In the process, brown fat can lower excessive levels of glucose and lipids in the blood that are linked to metabolic diseases such as diabetes. However, people who are overweight or obese tend to have less of this beneficial brown fat -- a barrier that HUMBLE cells are designed to overcome.

In this study, researchers created the modified cells from human white fat cells while it was in the progenitor stage (under developed from their final fat form). Furthermore, researchers utilized a variant of the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system to augment gene expression of UCP1, a gene that activates white fat cell progenitors to progress into brown fat-like cells. This brown fat-like cells was further transplanted into mice model lacking an immune system, the HUMBLE progenitor cells developed into cells similar to the mice's own brown fat cells.

The team also did comparison between transplanted and the original white fat cells in mice on a high fat diet. Researchers observed that mice model with HUMBLE transplants exhibited more sensitivity towards insulin and more ability to clear glucose from the blood, which are two are diminished in the case of type 2 diabetes.

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