A research found a new pathway of metabolism for stored sugars that explains regulation of cellular energy in obesity and could lead to new therapies for weight loss.
A new research conducted by the scientists at the University of California, San Diego revealed a new signalling pathway of metabolism, where conversion of bad fats into healthier form occurs, creating new possibilities around weight loss and metabolic health improvement. The study published in the journal Nature on October 27, 2021, disclosed the regulation of energy expenditure and heat production in obesity through the cellular pathway.
The team of scientists studied behaviour of glycogen in fat cells in overweight mice model and found that it performs more activity than just storing energy in fat cells. Surprisingly, it is associated with energy expenditure and heat production in obesity. The team found that the browning of fat cells is directly connected to the efficient degradation of glycogen. A signal is sent to cells to uncouple the ATP production after the turnover of glycogen. Due to this uncoupling, heat is produced, which helps to balance the energy in the process. This pathway, therefore ensures that the only fat cells containing enough energy stores to power the heat generation are allowed to do so. As per the scientists, obese mice having higher levels of glycogen had more effective metabolism process, which leads to rapid fat burning and weight loss.
Moreover, after studying the mechanism in humans, it was found that patients with obesity or who were susceptible to weight gain had lower levels of genes that are involved in the process of heat generation. Hence, it was concluded that it’s difficult for fat cells to burn calories through glycogen pathway and the pathway is a key link between thermogenesis and glucose metabolism. According to the scientists, this conclusion could lead to development of new treatment that restrain glycogen metabolism in fat cells to promote weight loss.