Obesity is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and chronic inflammation. As a result, researchers have long sought to develop effective remedies.
Obesity and cancer have also been connected in studies; according to current research, smoking, alcohol use, and obesity are the three leading causes of cancer globally.
Fat cell formation, which begins with a small fibroblast-like progenitor, not only activates the fat cells’ particular genes but also causes them to enlarge by storing more lipids (adipocytes and adipose tissue). In reality, lipid storage is the primary function of a fat cell. However, excessive lipid accumulation can make fat cells unhealthy and contribute to obesity.
The Difficulties Of Targeting Fat Cells
Many people’s prayers would be answered if scientists could target fat cells and securely decouple harmful fat accumulation from good fat metabolism. There are two types of fat: visceral fat, which surrounds the stomach, liver, and intestines, and subcutaneous fat, which is found under the skin everywhere in the body. Potbellies are caused by visceral fat; chin jowls, arm fat, and so on are caused by subcutaneous fat.
There has never been a mechanism for treating visceral adipose tissue selectively. Existing treatments for subcutaneous fat, such as liposuction, are intrusive and potentially harmful.
How Cationic Nanotechnology Treat Obesity?
Two new experiments from Columbia Engineering and Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) researchers may hold the key to safely and specifically targeting fat cells depots.
The articles present a novel strategy for treating obesity that involves the use of cationic nanotechnology that can target particular locations of fat and block the harmful buildup of larger fat cells.
The first study, published in Nature Nanotechnology today, focuses on visceral adiposity, or abdominal fat. The second research, which was published online by Biomaterials on November 28th, focuses on fat beneath the skin as well as chronic inflammation linked with obesity.
The research team, led by Li Qiang, at CUIMC, and Kam Leong, and, a CUIMC Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Systems Biology, revealed that adipose tissue includes a considerable quantity of negatively charged extracellular matrix (ECM) that holds fat cells in place.
Then, strangely, P-G3 shut off the lipid storage mechanism in fat cells, leading the mice to lose weight. This was completely unexpected, considering P-well-established G3’s role in neutralizing negatively charged pathogens, such as DNA/RNA cell debris, to reduce inflammation.
P-G3 promotes the development of new fat cells while also inhibiting the harmful lipid accumulation of larger fat cells. In these two studies, the researchers discovered that the cationic chemical, P-G3, could do an unusual thing to fat cells: while it aided new fat cell growth, it also uncoupled lipid storage from fat cell housekeeping chores.
Because it prevents larger fat cells from storing harmful lipids, the mice had more metabolically healthy, youthful, tiny fat cells like those seen in newborns and athletes. The researchers discovered that this uncoupling activity of P-G3 is also present in human fat biopsies, indicating the possibility of translation in humans.
Fat cells with P-G3 can still be fat cells, but they can’t grow up, according to Leong, a pioneer in the use of polycation to scavenge diseases. Our findings highlight an unexpected method for treating visceral obesity and open up a new line of inquiry into the use of cationic nanoparticles in the treatment of metabolic diseases.
Leong and Qiang envision a variety of potentials for their ability to target visceral fat selectively. The Biomaterials study demonstrates a simple procedure that might be used for cosmetic purposes; similar to Botox, P-G3 can be injected locally into a specific subcutaneous fat depot.