When fat tissue becomes altered, the likelihood of inflammation and metabolic disorders increases.
Findings from a recent study suggest that people with obesity or insulin resistance can accumulate fat more easily than others.
In the study, which was published by Cell Cycle, researchers found that the formation and growth of fat cells were linked to increased autophagy. Researchers believe that FoxO1 can control autophagy in humans.
This protein is known to regulate the growth of fat particles in the fat cells of mice.
“Earlier evidence suggests that autophagy is enhanced in fat tissue in people who are obese and have Type 2 diabetes. Our findings shed light on the mechanistic mystery of this phenomenon,” said researcher Zhiyong Cheng, PhD. “Because FoxO1 is activated by insulin resistance, obese and diabetic individuals may have an increase in the process of autophagy because this protein triggers it. When this happens, it promotes fat cell formation and expansion.”
Other research has suggested that fat tissue is an endocrine organ, and can secrete molecules that regulate functions such as inflammation and metabolism. However, fat tissue may become altered due to obesity.
This can result in increased inflammation and likelihood of developing metabolic disorders. Researchers also said that since FoxO1 is associated with type 2 diabetes, it may be especially effective for patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Abnormal fat tissue expansion might be a result of hyperactivity of the FoxO1 protein and of a nutrient surplus in obese diabetic people,” Dr Cheng concluded. “Further studies from here could lead to the discovery of a drug so that the pathway could be blocked and abnormal fat cell expansion could be stopped, which would prevent the increase of adiposity, or severe body weight.”