Health Watch -- Research Update: Fat Cells

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


Medical researchers are constantly looking for new ways to approach health problems. This week on Health Watch, we’ll look at some recent findings and how they may one day affect you.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have found one reason why one person gains weight and another doesn’t, even when they eat the same diet. When fat cells grow larger, as they do when a person gains weight, the cells lose receptors for the hormone leptin. That hormone is what triggers fat burning. Without the receptors, the cells store even more fat. People who naturally have more leptin receptors may burn more fat, which keeps them from gaining as much weight.

Dr. Roger Unger, the UT Southwestern researcher who led the study, says this finding may eventually lead to treatments for obesity.

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January 2006

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