There are three basic types of fat tissue in our bodies â€“ thereâ€™s the energy-storing white fat; and two energy-burning fats â€“ a brown fat that arises during fetal development and a beige fat. This is a brown-like fat thatâ€™s formed within white fat tissue after exposure to cold temperatures. Kevin Tharp at the University of California, Berkeley, is studying how energy-burning fats can affect overall physiological health.
"Brown fat is an essential organ for maintaining your core body temperature. Itâ€™s more essential for infants and small mammals because they canâ€™t shiver as well as more developed creatures like adults. And ultimately what that means is that it actually wastes energy to produce heat and that energy wasting is exactly what the metabolic benefit is."
To tap into this therapeutic concept, Tharp and his colleagues created a novel technique to engineer the growth and expansion of a brown-like fat, which could lead to new approaches to combat obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
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