Your Body’s Fat Cells seem to Memorize Your Unhealthy Diet

A new study done by the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen shows that it takes only 24 hours for the precursor fat cell to reprogram itself and drop out from the  track of becoming a mature fat cell This reprogramming arises when cells come in contact with the fatty acid palmitate or the hormone TNF-alpha.

The fatty acid palmitate or the hormone TNF-alpha caused these precursor fat cells to develop into a dysfunctional fat cell later in its life. The researchers have also found that these changes are particularly found in obese patients suffering from type 2.

When we eat food containing a large number of saturated fats, like dairy products, meat, and palm oil, we are exposed to palmitate because these food contain palmitate in huge amount. TNF-alpha is an inflammatory hormone present at a higher amount in obese patients.

‘Our results stress the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle for our metabolic health in the years to come. To a large extent, a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle can help prevent the reprogramming of our precursor cells. In the long term, we hope our study may be at the origin of new strategies to reverse the abnormal programming of fat precursor cells, making them healthy and functional once again’, says Romain Barrès, who is at the head of the study.

Several studies suggested that environmental factor plays a key role as cells keep past memory of environmental exposure. During their study, researchers collected fat tissue from 43 planned operations. 15 patients were lean, 14 were obese and 14 were obese and suffered from type 2 diabetes and compared precursor fat cell’s health in all 3 groups.

They found that cells from obese patients were not functioning like normal, healthy fat cells. To confirm their study, they expose the healthy precursor fat cells to palmitate or the hormone TNF-alpha just for 24 hours and observed the reprogramming like in cells from the diabetic patients.

‘We now know that precursors cells can be reprogrammed in a way that function is impaired at the final stage of their development, but so far no one has discovered how to reverse the process. But it is a promising field’, says Romain Barrès.


The BioScientist

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