Research ArticleMetabolism

CRISPR-engineered human brown-like adipocytes prevent diet-induced obesity and ameliorate metabolic syndrome in mice

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Science Translational Medicine  26 Aug 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 558, eaaz8664
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaz8664

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Turning up the heat

Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is the major player in the energy-siphoning thermogenesis that primarily occurs in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Wang et al. generated UCP1-overexpressing human white adipocytes so that they more resembled their brown counterparts. Transplantation of the modified white adipocytes prevented diet-induced obesity and glucose intolerance and increased energy expenditure in the recipient mice. These metabolic benefits resulted from increased nitric oxide signaling in the transplanted human cells, which activated endogenous murine BAT. Future work will need to examine whether this cell-based strategy can activate BAT thermogenesis in humans.

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