Pereira investigates brown fat cell role in combating obesity

Obesity and obesity-related diabetes and heart disease affect nearly half of adults in the United States. One potential solution to alleviate its prevalence may lie in finding ways to increase metabolism.

With a five-year $1.93M R01, Renata Pereira, PhD, research assistant professor in Endocrinology and Metabolism, and a team of researchers plan to investigate methods to increase metabolism in brown fat cells. Brown fat cells burn calories and produce heat when the body is exposed to cold temperatures, and past studies have suggested brown fat cells can therefore speed up metabolic activity. In Pereira’s past studies, mouse models have demonstrated that brown fat cells are triggered when exposed to cold temperatures for a brief period of time, inducing a reaction called the integrated stress response (ISR).

“The ISR seems to induce the release of hormones that improve the body’s metabolism, helping the mice burn calories more efficiently,” Pereira said.

Read the complete article.