Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Handling Fat
26 December 2017

Handling Fat

We’re all guilty of eating more fatty foods than we should from time to time. Luckily, our bodies have ways of handling our gluttonous missteps (within reason). Apelin, for example, is a protein that protects us against diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels and enhancing the body’s response to insulin. How exactly it does this, however, isn’t entirely clear. A new study aimed to pinpoint where apelin (green in this image of fatty tissue) takes its action, and discovered that the receptors it works with tend to be in cells lining blood vessels (red). Apelin blocks the transfer of fatty acids from the blood into tissues, reducing the impact they have on the body. And since apelin also helps prevent atherosclerosis, a condition where arteries become clogged with fatty deposits, it could be a useful tool in fighting heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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