Kick-starting blood vessel formation in fat tissue could make it use more energy and reduce weight gain
A thriving network of blood vessels feeds nutrients and oxygen to our hungry tissues. A process called angiogenesis weaves wriggly vessels like these – called capillaries – deep into our growing tissues. These capillaries formed inside a mouse’s fat or adipose tissue, one of the only tissues that changes size and shape later in life, requiring new vessels to form. In obese fat tissue, though, angiogenesis is often blocked – researchers found high levels of a protein called FOXO1 in cells lining these stunted blood vessels. By reducing FOXO1, researchers kick-started angiogenesis – a surge in vessel building that not only made the mouse’s fat healthier, but also requires a lot of energy, mopping up excess blood sugar and reducing weight gain in the process. The next challenge is to design treatments to carefully control FOXO1 in human cells in the hope of lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Today marks the start of National Obesity Awareness Week
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