FRIDAY, July 12, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Two new studies offer clues to fat cell behaviors that contribute to obesity.

The first work is from researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The research says insulin stimulation of fat cells, called adipocytes, is a critical factor in obesity.

The researchers bred mice that lacked insulin receptors in their fat cells. The mice were much leaner than normal mice in a control group, and were protected from obesity caused by aging and overeating, the study says.

The specially bred mice were also protected from insulin resistance, an obesity-linked condition that leads to diabetes.

The researchers say these mice have two different kinds of adipocytes - small and large. They believe the lack of insulin receptors reveals differences between the small and large adipocytes, and the small adipocytes are protected against too much fat loading. That's what prevents the mice from becoming obese.

The second study, by French researchers, looked at the role of a family of proteins called E2Fs in the maturation of adipocytes.

"The novel mechanisms for regulation of adipocytes that are presented in these two reports make a substantial contribution to future studies investigating new methods for controlling obesity and associated metabolic disorders, such as diabetes," says a Joslin Diabetes Center news release.

More than 1 billion people in the world are overweight. That puts them at increased risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Both studies appear in the July issue of the journal Developmental Cell.

More information

For more on obesity, go to the American Obesity Association.

Robert Preidt and Consumer news

Updated on July 12, 2002

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