Researchers from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen have potentially uncovered the cause for developing obesity. This process involves precursor cells, the fatty acid palmitate and the hormone TNF-alpha.

^Above is a photo of fat tissue

What are precursor cells and how does it work? 

A precursor cell is an immature cell that has not undertaken a specific role in the body yet, for example a mature cell would be considered a muscle cell. When this cell comes in contact with the fatty acid palmitate and the hormone TNF-alpha it is disrupted. This interaction will cause future damage; it causes the cell to develop into a dysfunctional fat cell. Obese patients with type two diabetes will often contain these types of reprogramed cells.

How were these cells discovered?

The researchers collected physical data from multiple types of patients with 43 planned opporations. They retrieved fat tissue from 15 lean patients, 14 obese patients, and 14 obese patients with type two diabetes. When they compared the data from the three groups of patients they noticed that the fat cells from the obese patients with type two diabetes were not normal fat cells, they were reprogrammed cells that did not function like normal fat cells. Once they realized this, the researchers were able to recreate the reprogrammed cells by exposing precursor cells to the palmitate and hormone TNF-alpha. In just 24 hours they were able to complete the process successfully!

What can I do with this information?

These results illustrate how essential it is for you to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. It proves that your habits now will affect you in the future. This is why people should learn about how to live a healthy lifestyle at a young age. The younger the better, because it would decrease the chances of precursor cells to be transformed into abnormal fat cells for your future life.

The future:

Hopefully, this study sparks new ideas and discoveries regarding preventative obesity tactics. The researchers hope to discover a way to reverse the abnormal programing of the fat precursor cells. If researchers could figure out a way to reverse this programing how much safer could obese patients become? Could this research impact the education systems, forcing health classes earlier in students lives? This article interested me because I am always focused on how my decisions will affect me in my future, however I never thought of this with my eating habits.

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