(ORDO NEWS) — Neuroscientists have discovered that mammalian adipose tissue contains a large number of receptors that are directly connected to the brain.
The work was published in the journal Nature. The results were announced on Wednesday by the press service of the Scripps Research Institute.
The adipose tissue of all mammals contains two types of cells: white and brown fat. The latter is found mainly in the tissues of infants and young.
The body uses it to quickly burn calories and keep the body warm. As we grow older, brown fat disappears and white fat predominates, storing rather than destroying excess calories.
For the last ten years, scientists have been trying to find out whether it is possible to turn white fat into brown fat for faster calorie expenditure.
The first experiments showed that this can be done with the help of cold and substances present in hot peppers.
Researchers have discovered receptor neurons that connect adipose tissue to the brain and control the activity of brown fat.
To do this, the team studied the work and organization of nerve cells present in the adipose tissue of mice.
They treated the body of rodents so that their adipose tissue became almost completely transparent. This made it possible to reveal the work of the neurons present in the fat.
Observations have shown that a significant part of the receptors is directly connected to the brain of mice, and is not associated with the peripheral nervous system.
The team inserted a set of genes into nerve cells to selectively kill these receptors, and found that neurons played an important role in controlling brown fat.
When neurons were destroyed, the adipose tissue began to be controlled by the peripheral nervous system, which stimulated the growth and activity of brown fat.
As a result, body temperature rose, and adipose tissue burned, rather than stored calories.
Further study of these nerve cells will help develop approaches to manage the process of burning calories in brown fat, the scientists concluded.
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