Enzyme Shown to Regulate Inflammation And Metabolism in Fat Tissue


Source: Brown University

Summary: Researchers have identified an enzyme that appears to regulate the physiology of both fat types in mice – decreasing inflammation in white fat tissue while promoting the ability of brown fat to burn calories.


Two primary kinds of fat are found in the human body – white fat and brown fat. White fat stores excess calories and is associated with obesity and brown fat burns calories in order to produce heat which has garnered interest as a potential means to combat obesity. Researchers from the Brown University in a new study have found identified an enzyme that appears to regulate the physiology of both fat types in mice – decreasing inflammation in white fat tissue while promoting the ability of brown fat to burn calories. A preliminary genetic evidence was included in the study, which suggests that the enzyme, called SNRK (SNF-related serine/threonine-protein kinase), performs similar functions in humans, making it an intriguing new drug target in the battle against obesity and its complications. The research findings were published in the journal Diabetes.

SNF-related serine/threonine-protein kinase

New research identifies an enzyme that helps regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue. Credit: Brown University

The research team for this study bred mice that lack the gene for producing SNRK in fat cells, so they could then compare fat tissue from those mice with tissue from normal mice. The study showed the mice which lacked SRNK gene had a higher concentration of macrophages (immune cells act as markers for inflammation) in white fat tissue compared with normal mice. Previous research has shown that inflammation in white fat is associated with insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes. SRNK gene even influenced the physiology of brown fat tissue. Finally, the study results tell that boosting SNRK production might boost overall metabolism, which might aid in weight loss and SNRK could be a target for new therapies aimed at curbing obesity and its complications.

Prof. Simin Liu said, “What’s particularly noteworthy about this work is we were able to present an integrative link from genetics, cell- and animal-based experiments, all the way up to clinical outcomes in large human population”, “We hope that making that connection will quicken the process of multidisciplinary collaborations in translating lab-based discoveries to new therapies or targets for interventions.”


More Information: Jie Li et al, “Sucrose Non-Fermenting Related Kinase Regulates Both Adipose Inflammation and Energy Homeostasis in Mice and Humans”, Diabetes (2018). DOI: 10.2337/db17-0745


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