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Mitochondrial Uncoupling Linked to Energy Use

Could be a target for obesity

MONDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Increased energy usage after mild cold exposure is associated with skeletal muscle mitochondrial uncoupling in lean humans, which could be a target for treating obesity, according to research published online March 12 in PLoS ONE.

Sander L.J. Wijers, and colleagues from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, examined the metabolic response at baseline and after mild cold exposure in 11 lean, male subjects. They also measured skeletal muscle mitochondrial uncoupling (state 4) in muscle biopsies.

The researchers found that mild cold exposure significantly increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 2.8 percent (0.32 MJ per day), which significantly correlated with state 4 respiration.

"This study for the first time shows that in humans, skeletal muscle has the intrinsic capacity for cold induced adaptive thermogenesis via mitochondrial uncoupling under physiological conditions," Wijers and colleagues conclude. "This opens possibilities for mitochondrial uncoupling as an alternative therapeutic target in the treatment of obesity."

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